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New Laser Technology to Get Rid of Sea Lice

NORWAY - The Norwegian technology company Beck Engineering has developed the world's first system that uses a laser to kill sea lice. Marine Harvest, SalMar and Leroy Seafood Group are participating in the project.

The first phase of the project was completed in 2011, where the Fishery and Aquaculture Industry Research Fund has provided funding. Through experiments have also been able to "shoot" out of lice on salmon with a laser.

Now, after that "proof of concept" is demonstrated, large-scale trials are in line in normal breeding cages. In summer and autumn, the project will look into the salmon's health and welfare before, during and after treatment with the laser.

"Based on initial experiments, we have no indications that the fish are being damaged by the laser, but it is essential to the well documented before we go ahead with this," says leader of the project's steering committee, Harald Sveier from Leroy Seafood Group.

The method, called optical debugging. It is a non-pharmacological and environmentally friendly method. The equipment consists of kamerasyn, lenses, filtres, lighting, software and lasers. "We have developed a management and control system that recognises the lice on the fish, ensuring that only the lice that are hit with the laser," said Mr Sveier.

The goal is to develop equipment that the aquaculture industry can use for industrial debugging. At this stage, 22.5 million has been set aside for the project, including support from Innovation Norway, the tax deduction and the cooperation organised through an IRD contract. This is a research and development programme that will last until the spring of 2013.

Lucy Towers

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