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Cleaner fish course launches in October

Sea lice Welfare Lumpfish +9 more

An online course, providing a certificated continuing professional qualification in biology, rearing, farm deployment and health and welfare of cleaner fish has been announced by FAI Academy.

Cleaner fish: biology rearing and farm deployment will start on 27 October 2021 and is recommended, by the organisers, for anyone working in hatcheries and sea cage farms, support and technical staff, managers, regulators, and aquaculture students.

Lumpfish and wrasse are widely used in salmon farms to control sea lice numbers

Within the aquaculture sector cleaner fish have become an established technique to control sea lice numbers. Several companies have reported good results with using wrasse or lumpfish alone, while combining the use of the two species was underlined at the SAIC International Wrasse Conference, in May 2021.

The conference also emphasised the use of dedicated cleaner fish staff on each farm and highlighted this as a major factor in the success of cleaner fish at controlling lice. A training gap due to Covid-19 was identified, and training regimes were stressed as one of the key drivers for improvement.

The course is led by Jim Treasurer, who was formerly research director at the Ardtoe marine hatchery, where both wrasse and lumpfish were reared. Prior to that, he was a regional fish health manager with Marine Harvest. He aims to use the course to teach the best technical practice and highest welfare procedures for cleaner fish. Run entirely online through the FAI Academy platform it will include webinars and Q&A sessions. Topics covered in the 12 units comprise:

  • A background to sea lice and control.
  • The biology of the main cleaner fish species wrasse and lumpfish.
  • Best practice for rearing of cleaner fish.
  • Deployment and acclimation of both wrasse and lumpfish.
  • The welfare and health of cleaner fish in the hatchery and in sea pens.
  • Technical standards for the stocking of cleaner fish.

The course also covers managing the wrasse fishery, shipping cleaner fish, cleaner fish stocking in all salmon producing countries, including other promising cleaner fish candidates, and finishes on the economics and business plan for cleaner fish use.

“There are knowledge gaps in cleaner fish rearing and use. We have been working on a course to give farm, technical staff, managers, students and regulators a continuing professional qualification in all aspects of cleaner fish rearing, welfare and deployment. We are hoping that this gives a fuller understanding of cleaner fish biology and methods of improving survival and welfare during capture, hatchery rearing, transport and deployment on farms. The objective is to make the technique sustainable and to improve efficacy in controlling sea lice numbers,” said FAI in a press release.

To find out more, including cost and enrolment detail, please visit