[2020 AWARD WINNING PAPER] The development of the Norwegian wrasse fishery and the use of wrasses as cleaner fish in the salmon aquaculture industry

2020 Award of Excellence for the Science Papers

Fish Sci (2017) 83:661–670
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12562-017-1110-4


Enrique Blanco Gonzalez, Femke de Boer


Norway leads the world aquaculture production of Atlantic salmon Salmo salar and farmed Norwegian Atlantic salmon is currently consumed around the globe. However, sea lice infestation is a major problem faced by the salmon aquaculture industry in Norway and elsewhere. The use of wild-caught cleaner fish, mainly wrasses, has been recommended over the other available methods as the most economical and environmentally friendly option to control sea lice infestation in salmon farming. Here, we review the development of the Norwegian wrasse fishery and the use of wrasses as cleaner fish. In this document, we address the sea lice problem and introduce the main wrasse species employed as cleaner fish, document the cleaning behaviour of wrasses, present the development of a new wrasse fishery associated with the salmon aquaculture industry, and finally, we identify the main challenges associated with the intensive use of wild-caught cleaner wrasses and provide some insight for future directions of the wrasse fishery and further development of aquaculture techniques to supply salmon facilities with domesticated cleaner fish.


Norway / Cleanerfish / Fishing / Symbiosis / Biological control / Sea lice

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