The fight against sea lice

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On the Norwegian coast, in the most natural area for Atlantic salmon, the company SkaMik has grown into a key developer and partner. One of the answers to future sustainable food production at sea is Wellfighter.

Fresh seawater in the ocean current along the Norwegian coast is the best starting point for Atlantic salmon to thrive. The challenge has been to separate the fish from the natural parasite, salmon lice.

As fish farming has increased in spread and volume, the demands on fish welfare, efficiency and profitability have risen. The “simple” solution from the pioneer era with extensive chemical bath treatment was not sustainable. The need for a serviceable non-medicinal treatment of the salmon became clear early on.

Endurance
Wise minds with insight into the industry quickly realised that mechanical treatment was a very promising alternative, but taking ideas and theory into well-functioning practical solutions requires
presence and persistence.

In the same way that technology and new modes of operation have improved production itself, SkaMik has, through a unique and close collaboration with the industry, developed its solutions for mechanical delousing. The total demands from ambitious fish farmers and demanding customers have resulted in both improved machines and new methods – delivered by SkaMik through longtime partner Moen Marin AS.

Close-up of the Wellfighter system in operaion

The Wellfighter solution
One example involves combining the large freshwater capacity in new wellboats with a compact delousing system. The Wellfighter solution is based on the original SkaMik 1.5 concept, and after
intensive development over several years and the completed documentation process can demonstrate a unique combination: high delousing effect, good fish welfare and gentle treatment of the
salmon.

Even with a compact design, the capacity is high: 60 tonnes per hour per unit. The Wellfighter is mounted on the wellboat’s existing unloading system and flushes the fish with low pressure after about two hours’ holding time in fresh water.

In this way, delousing is also possible when delivering to waiting cages at the processing plant or after AGD treatment in freshwater – in addition to ordinary delousing during the production run. The efficiency of the well-boat’s resources is enormous, as four to five cargoes are often deloused before the need to replace the fresh water on board.

An important element about the system is that it is easily scalable based on capacity requirements and the size of the well-boat, and that the design makes both cleaning, service, and maintenance
easy. So far, more than 20 Wellfighter systems are in full operation. Both trout and salmon of all sizes – and in very large numbers – are deloused with the combination of freshwater and Wellfighter.

The setup on this vessel has a capacity of 300 tons per hour – with 2 hours holding time in freshwater.

Fish welfare is the key
Through several projects and cooperation with fish farmers and fish health personnel, tomorrow’s solution for chemical-free, nonmedicinal delousing is in place and in daily operation.

The great development work has had an effect: a more controllable process with an emphasis on fish welfare and gentle treatment. The advantage of the combination is a better delousing effect, with a lower impact on the fish. The setup has proven effective at all lice stages, in addition to utilising the capacity the modern wellboat is capable of.

“What primarily drives us? Optimal biological solutions. At the same time, the market and customers demand sustainability at all levels. Although salmon farming is highly efficient protein production for humans, we cannot take shortcuts in any area,” emphasises sales director Lars Ivar Elvertro at Moen Marin AS.

Fish welfare is given high priority – and the vets have their own area to examine the fish after delousing in Wellfighter.

The development continues…
The history of SkaMik and the pioneers who took up the sea lice challenge goes back nearly 25 years. And the founders are still actively involved. In close cooperation with the Norwegian farming industry, the development continues steadily.

Geir Skarstad, General Manager at SkaMik, says: “Experience has shown that the salmon lice have had their own ability to stay ‘one step ahead’. But now we have reached a turning point. New forms of operation, combined with high capacity and constant development and improvement of technology, means that the industry can handle the challenge better. At SkaMik, we are proud to have contributed with gentle and effective solutions, while at the same time working hard towards new products and focus on development. We are very confident in our products and the development job we have done together with our customers.”

To experience the SkaMik Wellfighter system in operation, contact Lars Ivar Elvertrø.

Lars Ivar Elvertrø

Contact: Lars Ivar Elvertrø
Sales Director +47 40238823
Lars-ivar.elvertro@moenmarin.no

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