Parasitologists have not, in the past, exploited the immune system to protect fish against parasitic diseases. In the past few years, however, there has been an increased interest in adopting this strategy, and we have made steady and promising progress against a few parasites which are of economic importance. Amyloodinium ocellatum is an ectoparasitic dinoflagellate on brackish and marine fishes, which may also cause problems to aquarium fishes. Antiserum from fish inoculated intraperitoneally (i.p.) with living dinospores of the parasite immobilizes and agglutinates living dinospores; it also reduces parasite infectivity in cell culture. Cryptobia salmositica is a pathogenic haemoflagellate of salmonids on the Pacific coast of North America, causing mortality in semi-natural and intensive salmon culture facilities. A live attenuated vaccine inoculated i.p. protects susceptible juvenile and adult fish for at least 24 months. The protection involves production of complement fixing antibodies, phagocytosis, and antibody-dependent and antibody-independent T-cell cytotoxicity. A monoclonal antibody against a surface membrane glycoprotein (199-200 kDa is therapeutic in that it significantly reduces parasitaemias when inoculated into fish with acute disease. Ichthyophthirius multifiliis is an ectoparasitic ciliate of freshwater fishes with world wide distribution, usually causing disease when fish are stressed and/or when environmental conditions are favourable for parasite multiplication. Live theronts injected into the body cavity protect fish, and monoclonal antibodies with immobilizing activity upon parasites have been developed. There is some evidence of passive transfer of protective immunity from immune to naive fish, and to eggs. Diplostomum spathaceum is an intestinal parasite of gulls; the metacercaria stage of the parasite encyst and causes disease and mortality in numerous species of freshwater fish in Europe and in North America. Fish injected i.p. with sonicated/killed cercariae or metacercariae have fewer metacercariae in the eyes and survives longer. Lepeophtheirus salmonis and Caligus elongatus are parasitic copepods (sea lice), and they are important parasites of Atlantic salmon in cage cultures. A vaccine against fish lice is plausible, and the efficacy of about 20 candidate antigens in protecting fish is being tested.
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