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New Project Is Developing Novel Sea Louse Vaccine

Salmonids Health Biosecurity +5 more

SCOTLAND, UK - A new project is developing a novel sea louse vaccine: an environmentally friendly tool for increasing sustainability of protein production in UK salmon aquaculture.

This project is funded by the Technology Strategy Board, a joint initiative between the Scottish Government and the BBSRC.

It is led by an industrial partner, Pfizer Inc., which has provided substantial match funding, and brings together expertise within Pfizer, the Institute of Aquaculture and the Moredun Research Institute.

UK salmon aquaculture produces 150K tonnes per annum, valued at greater than £1 billion, with key nutritional benefits for consumers.

Sea lice, parasitic copepods infecting salmon in the sea, are a key constraint to sustainability, costing the industry more than £30M a year to control. Sea louse control relies upon chemical treatment, but the development of parasite resistance to control is posing a major threat to the sustainability of the UK and global industry.

This innovative proposal leverages recent developments in sequencing, mucosal immunity, protein mass spectrometry and vaccine technology to develop a novel vaccine capable of providing substantive, eco-friendly control of sea lice infections in farmed salmon.

Vaccines provide a means to tackle a major constraint to the sustainability of protein production, as well as helping to protect rural jobs, the marine environment and wild salmon stocks.