Aquaculture-driven evolution: distribution of pyrethroid resistance in the salmon louse throughout the North Atlantic in the years 2000–2017
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionICES Journal of Marine Science. 2020, 77 (5), 1806-1815. 10.1093/icesjms/fsaa062
The parasitic salmon louse, and its documented resistance to chemotherapeutants, represents the most persistent environmental challenge to global salmonid aquaculture. We used a genetic marker associated with pyrethroid resistance to analyse ∼15 000 lice collected from the North Atlantic in the period 2000–2017. The genotype associated with resistance was not detected in lice collected from throughout the North Atlantic in the year 2000 or 2002. However, by the year 2009 onwards, it was found in lice from fish farms throughout much of the North Atlantic. It was also found in modest frequencies in lice collected from wild Atlantic salmon captured off Greenland. The most recent samples displayed very high frequencies of the genotype associated with resistance, particularly in intensive aquaculture regions of Norway (>90%) and Scotland (>70%). These results closely align with observations from the field. We suggest that pyrethroid resistance first emerged in Europe just before or around the year 2000 and was thereafter dispersed throughout much of the North Atlantic where its increased frequency was driven by extensive pyrethroid use. Although the resistant genotype was not detected in lice from Canada, it is likely to occur in very low frequencies that would quickly increase if pyrethroids were to be used in that region.