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Managing Sea Lice

THE NETHERLANDS - SLICE Sustainability Project is a comprehensive, six-step integrated strategy to help the world's salmon producers develop lasting, sustainable control programmes for managing sea lice.

The SLICE Sustainability Project was launched by Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health at Sea Lice 2010, a global scientific forum held this week in Vancouver, Canada.

The project is based on four core actions - protect, conserve, renew and succeed –- and focuses on proven management practices involving SLICE(emamectin benzoate), the industry’s leading product for sea lice control over the past decade.

“The SLICE Sustainability Project gives salmon farmers additional resources to protect their farms from economic losses, conserve valuable therapeutics, renew the strength and dependability of proven products, and succeed through proactive, judicious management practices,” explains Dr Richard Endris, aquaculture research program manager for Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health.

Testing is the foundation of the SLICE Sustainability Project. Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health has identified regional laboratories worldwide for conducting bioassays, feed and tissue analyses, and other tests needed to implement the programme effectively.

The SLICE Sustainability Project is supported by Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health’s network of global technical service specialists. According to Dr Endris, these consultants are ready to take an active role training farm personnel and developing science-driven programs aimed at optimising product efficacy and longevity.

More than a decade ago, Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health developed SLICE, which brought sea lice control to unprecedented levels for efficacy and dependability, Dr Endris says.

“But as revolutionary as the product was, our scientists knew that sea lice –- like any parasite that threatens animals in production agriculture –- had the potential to become less sensitive to the product over time,” he adds.

For this reason, he continues, when SLICE was launched in 2000, the company published specific guidelines for sea lice resistance management to conserve the product’s efficacy. Since then, integrated and sustainable sea lice management involving SLICE has proved to be highly effective in Canada, Chile, Ireland, Norway, Scotland and other major salmon-producing countries.

“After 10 years, SLICE remains the world’s No. 1 product for sea lice control,” Dr Endris says, pointing to the success of the industry’s resistance-management efforts. “The SLICE Sustainability Project is a compilation of field-proven strategies and best practices that we have developed from our hands-on experience managing this costly parasite over the last decade.”

The judicious use of SLICE and the more recent reintroduction of effective bath treatments have reduced the economic impact of sea lice on the global salmon industry. Despite these advances, the risk of sea lice infestation and related losses remains high as some strains of the parasite become more tolerant to the few therapeutics available.

“Now more than ever, therapeutics such as SLICE are essential for successful salmon production –- not just to protect salmon from sea lice, but also to protect the economic viability and sustainability of the world’s salmon industry,” Dr Endris says. “It is, therefore, imperative to follow best practices and maximise the impact of each treatment.”

The company has developed a 24-page color booklet outlining the strategies and best practices associated with the SLICE Sustainability Project. For a free copy, contact your Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health representative or go to www.intervet.com and select Aquatic Animals from the Species menu (http://aqua.intervet.com).

the Fish Site Editor

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