Aquaculture for all

New Technology Developed to Deal With Sea Lice

Salmonids Health

GLOBAL - Sea lice are one of the biggest problems in the salmon industry, hampering growth and promoting other diseases. Whilst current medications used are working, increased resistance to these products is becoming a major issue - often the result of poor application of the product, writes Charlotte Johnston, TheFishSite editor.

Trials are ongoing to look at vaccines and breeding selection tools.

One new technology is the use of laser treatment, called optical delousing.

This technology has been developed by Beck Engineering and was patented in 2010.

The laser unit kills the lice, which will fall off the fish, this time frame depends on the power used, John Breivik, Managing Director of Beck Engineering says.

As the fish swim through the unit, the system recognises the lice on the fish, ensuring that only the lice are hit with the laser.

Mr Breivik explains that the treatment takes a matter of seconds, depending on how fast the fish are swimming. One laser shot is only five nanoseconds of light, he says.

The first phase of the project, which trialled the idea in laboratories, was completed in 2011. From initial experiments, the company says that there are no indications that the fish are being damaged by the laser.

Now large scale trials on commercial salmon units in Norway will begin, with a particular focus on fish health and welfare.

This research will continue until March 2013, which is when Beck Engineering hopes that the product will become available to the market.

The first phase of the project was funded by the Marine and Aquaculture Industry Research Fund. So far, NOK22.5 million has been set aside for the project, which includes support from Innovation Norway.

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