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Scotland Hosts International Sea Lice Seminars

Salmonids Health +1 more

SCOTLAND, UK - Sharing new knowledge and scientific understanding of sea lice has been at the centre of two international conferences held in Scotland last week.

Held over three-days in Edinburgh, over 160 fish farmers, vets, fish health experts, academics, researchers, government officials and pharmaceutical, feed and public sector delegates from Scotland, Norway, Canada, Ireland, and Chile learned about new techniques developed by industry and researchers in Scotland designed to provide additional safeguards for the protection and well-being of farmed fish.

Organised by the Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation (SSPO) and the Scottish Aquaculture Research Forum (SARF) delegates at the 'Scottish Sea Lice Symposium' (Tuesday 15th November) learned about the use of semiochemicals to prevent lice from wild fish attaching to farm stock; the early success of wrasse as cleaner fish in the natural control of lice, and new developments in feeding, breeding and vaccination as lice-defence mechanisms.

Scottish and international delegates also attended the 'Sea Lice Multination Initiative' (16th – 17th November) where they learned about new international research initiatives and agreements to share information on best practice.

Professor Phil Thomas, Chairman of SSPO, said: “Sea lice are endemic natural parasites of wild salmon, sea trout and other marine fish species, so there is always some risk of farmed fish being exposed to them. However, research developments are offering new and innovative ways to reduce the risk of sea lice transfer to farmed fish and to control any transfer that might occur.”

Dr John Webster, Technical Director, SSPO, said: “People attending these events were greatly encouraged by the sheer volume and quality of research taking place on different approaches to improving our ability to control lice. Industry is investing many millions of pounds in high quality research and development that is making a real difference to fish health and welfare.

“A Scottish sea lice research and development strategy has existed for over twenty years. Since the late ’80s, Industry and researchers have been involved in collaborative research projects that have helped to deliver a number of significant practical benefits,” he added.

Richard Slaski, SARF Secretariat, said: "The symposium was a perfect example of delivery on two of SARF’s main aims, which are to support scientific research in aquaculture and to ensure dissemination of the research results.

“The wide range of sea lice related research topics discussed, some of them sponsored by SARF, demonstrated just how much investment continues to be made in high quality science in this important area for Scotland’s aquaculture industry.”