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A sound approach to tackling sea lice

Atlantic Salmon Sea lice Technology & equipment +4 more

An innovative new treatment method to control sea lice using sound waves has received six-figure funding.

Pulcea, developers of a pioneering approach which uses sound energy to improve the efficiency of existing sea lice treatments, has joined forces with Aqua Pharma to accelerate the delivery of this new technology, from testing through to commercialisation.

Pulcea has developed a system that uses acoustic power in conjunction with hydrogen peroxide to remove sea lice more effectively

Under the six-figure deal, international aquaculture pharmaceutical experts Aqua Pharma have bought a 50 percent stake in Pulcea, with the remaining 50 percent jointly owned by Pulcea managing director Ian Armstrong and technical director Ian Jamieson.

Sea lice are a persistent challenge in the aquaculture industry, with losses caused by lice infestations estimated at up to €549 million each year.

Current treatment methods include bathing the salmon in hydrogen peroxide, which breaks down into water and oxygen after treatment. Using acoustic power in conjunction with hydrogen peroxide during treatment causes the oxygen bubbles that attach to the sea lice from the breakdown of the hydrogen peroxide to oscillate, causing more damage to the lice whilst being less stressful for the fish.

Ian Armstrong, said; “The Pulcea team welcomes the investment of Aqua Pharma to develop our technology during these challenging times when ongoing innovation is so important to the international salmon farming community.

“Sea lice can be a challenge when growing salmon and many different treatment methods are currently in use or under evaluation. A system such as ours, which combines efficiency with a focus on the wellbeing of the fish and the environment, will be a vital addition to the armoury of treatments and enhance the sustainability of the industry. Our target markets include those early Spring treatments undertaken prior to the wild salmon smolt migration, along with the intensive autumn season.

“Traditionally, the Norwegian industry are great implementers of good ideas, and this investment from Aqua Pharma will take our sea lice technology from the current testing phase through to widespread commercialisation as rapidly as COVID-19 restrictions permit.”

Elvin Bugge, Aqua Pharma CEO, said: “For Aqua Pharma this investment into Pulcea fits perfectly within our mission to contribute to responsible, sustainable, aquaculture by innovating and developing effective, minimum impact and gentle treatments for the fish under our customers’ care and we are very excited to be involved in bringing it to the market.”

In 2018 Innovate UK provided a three year support package which has funded Pulcea’s veterinary project manager, Dr Rachel Brown. By the end of the funding period in 2021 the objective is to have introduced the innovative new treatment throughout the international salmon farming industry.