Development of anaesthetic protocols for lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus L.): Effect of anaesthetic concentrations, sea water temperature and body weight
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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In recent years, use of lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus L.) as cleaner-fish to remove sea-lice have been chosen by many salmon farmers in Europe and Canada as an alternative to medical treatment, which has led to large scale production of lumpfish. At present, there is limited knowledge of how lumpfish respond upon anaesthesia, which anaesthetics and concentrations that are efficient and conditions for euthanasia. We have therefore tested and developed protocols for bath immersion for three commonly used anaesthetics metacaine (Finquel, buffered tricaine methanesulfonate, MS-222 and Tricaine Pharmaq), benzocaine (Benzoak vet) and isoeugenol (Aqui-S), determined concentration for normal and fast anaesthesia and evaluated safety margin for each condition. Also, a behavioral matrix has been developed. We have examined the effect of fish size (10–20 g, 200–400 g and 600–1300 g) and sea water temperature (6°C and 12°C). We found that 200 mg L-1 metacaine is an efficient dose for deep narcosis independently for fish size and temperature due to good safety margins with regards to both exposure times and doses. However, for many tasks lighter anaesthesia is sufficient, and then 100 mg L-1 metacaine can be used. Benzocaine is less efficient than metacaine, but can be used as anaesthetic of fish < 400 g. The optimal doses of benzocaine were 100–200 mg L-1 for small fish (10–20 g) and 200 mg L-1 for medium sized fish (200–400 g). For larger fish (> 600 g), benzocaine is not suitable. Isoeugenol cannot be recommended for full anesthesia of lumpfish. The conditions for lethal doses varied with chosen anaesthetic, fish size and temperature. For small fish (10–20 g), exposure to 1600 mgL-1 of metacaine in 10 minutes it lethal. Guided protocols for non-lethal anaesthesia will contribute to ensure safe treatment of lumpfish according to an ethical standard for good fish welfare.