We evaluated the use of coordinated fallowing as a means to control salmon lice Lepeophtheirus salmonis infestation in farmed Atlantic salmon Salmo salar. In discrete management zones, aquaculture operations such as stocking, fallowing, treatments and harvesting are synchronized at all sites in coordinated areas within the zones. The expected benefit of synchronized generations is to reduce the presence of salmon lice larvae after a period of fallowing, as well as to minimize external infestation pressure from surrounding aquaculture sites. A regression analysis was used to evaluate the effectiveness of coordinated fallowing on the progression of external salmon lice infestation pressure and abundance in Atlantic salmon farming sites in 2 areas (zones) in Norway. The overall results show that external infestation pressure was higher inside than outside the management zones, and the external infestation pressure increased with increasing biomass throughout the production cycle. However, within the zones, the external infestation pressure at the beginning of a production cycle was high and in many cases even higher than the general external infestation pressure in the non-coordinated areas. This suggests that external infestation pressure from the neighboring areas has a considerable effect on the fallowed area. Higher numbers of salmon lice were recorded within the zones than outside and, as the production cycle progressed, this phenomenon became more evident. We conclude that the high infestation pressure from salmon lice at the beginning of the grow-out period after fallowing raises severe doubts about the effectiveness of coordinated fallowing practices.
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