In Northern Europe and Canada, the salmon louse, Lepeophtheirus salmonis (Krøyer), seriously affects the marine phase of salmon production. Although the problem is long-standing, the development of sustainable methods of pest management has been unable to keep pace with the intensification of production, leading to large-scale reliance on very few chemotherapeutants. This runs the risk of selecting for genetically determined resistance in target organisms. There are many examples of similar evolutionary adaptations in arthropod pests of arable crops, livestock and human health. Several hundred pest species are now documented as being resistant to one or more chemical classes of insecticides and acaricides. Many of these compounds are identical or closely related to ones currently employed against salmon lice. It is, therefore, opportune to consider what lessons have been learnt from contending with resistance in terrestrial organisms, the implications for sustainable use of chemotherapeutants in aquaculture, and the potential for developing effective resistance management strategies. An EU-funded project named SEARCH (QLK2-CT-2000-00809) has been initiated to explore in more detail the diagnosis, incidence, dynamics and management of resistance to chemotherapeutants in L salmonis.