Short-Term Effects of the Anti-sea Lice Therapeutant Emamectin Benzoate on Clam Worms (Nereis virens)
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The polychaete Nereis virens occurs commonly in marine sediments, is widely distributed, and is a popular bait species, as well as a potential replacement for wild-caught fish in commercial fish feed preparations. It is being considered as a potential co-extractive species for culture in integrated multi-trophic aquaculture operations. However, it is not known whether pesticides or drugs used to treat sea lice on farmed salmon, such as emamectin benzoate (EB), would adversely affect cultured or wild worms, because these compounds may persist in the environment. To determine the potential effects of EB to N. virens, bioassays were performed wherein worms were exposed in sand for 30 days to a concentration of 400 µg/kg dw (nominal). While no treatment-related mortality occurred, significant decreases in worm mass and marked behavioral changes (lack of burrowing) were observed in EB-treated sand compared with controls. These lab-based observations suggest a potential hazard to worms at sites where EB treatments have occurred.
The authors thank the St. Andrews Biological Station and the Canadian Rivers Institute for technical assistance and laboratory supplies and Cooke Aquaculture Inc. for their donation of analytical chemicals.
Funding for this work was provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture program through the University of New Brunswick Saint John. Special thanks to the following staff of the St. Andrews Biological Station, the Canadian Rivers Institute, Gregor Reid, Kenneth MacKeigan, Monica Lyons, David Wong, Craig Smith, Terralynn Lander, and especially Jim, Tina, and Becky McBriarty.
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