Shelters can negatively affect growth and welfare in lumpfish if feed is delivered continuously

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Due to the socioeconomic importance of salmon farming in the North Atlantic and the economic impact of sea lice in this industry, there is high demand for novel pest control methods. One such method is the use of cleaner fish to remove the lice from the salmon. A cleaner fish that has recently gained in popularity due to its ability to work in cold water, is the lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus). This fish varies in efficiency, but when mortality is low and cleaning optimal, the fish are successful in keeping parasite burdens low. However, there is some concern for the welfare of lumpfish in the industry, because mortality is often high. This is sometimes attributed to inadequate feeding and shelter. Here we compare growth, body condition, and fin health of fish reared for four weeks in a crossed treatment design crossing shelter availability (shelter vs none) and feed delivery method (manual meal time feeds and continuous automated feeding). In terms of weight gain, shelter availability interacted with feeding method, with fish that had access to shelters and were fed using automated feeders gaining less weight than other fish. Fin health was not affected, but body condition was lowered both by access to shelter and being fed continuously. The results indicate a need to carefully consider how feeding method and shelter use is combined, both in cages and during rearing on land.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Animal husbandry
  • Fish welfare
  • Aquaculture
  • Lumpfish
  • Cyclopterus lumpus


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