Submitted to: Aquaculture Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/16/2016
Publication Date: 3/31/2017
Citation: Pietrak, M.R., Wolters, W., Rexroad Iii, C.E., Peterson, B.C. 2017. Selective breeding program for sea lice Lepeophtheirus salmonis (Kroyer 1838) at the USDA's National Cold Water Marine Aquaculture Center. Aquaculture Conference Proceedings. 46-52.
Technical Abstract: Sea lice are likely the most economically costly pathogen that has faced the salmon farming industry over the past 40 years. Recent economic estimates put the annual cost of sea lice at $742 million USD in 2012. With the rise of resistance to multiple drugs used to treat sea lice, there has been a significant shift in sea lice management away from a dependence on drugs and towards an approach utilizing multiple non-drug and drug based control methods, such as selective breeding. The USDA has begun a comprehensive program to test 100-120 families per year from their pedigreed North American stocks and incorporate sea lice resistance into their existing broodstock program. Initial testing revealed a highly variable susceptibility between families, with family average lice counts ranging from 0.0229 - 0.1853 lice/cm2. Conservative estimates calculated a heritability of 0.19. This data is being combined with a low density marker genotyping approach to improve within-family broodstock selection.