Hatching a plan for cleaner fish welfare

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Renowned feed innovators World Feeds Ltd have been making significant developments in cleaner fish welfare and the war on sea lice. Their innovative VAF Feed Blocks are now used by six of the seven largest salmon producers in Scotland, as well as major operations across Norway.

Designed to be strategically deployed on bespoke feeding stations, the VAF system enables users to disperse the cleaners about the sea pen, maximising exposure to sea lice. Practical advantages for personnel include considerable reductions in preparation time, maintenance, storage space and energy costs. VAF Feed Blocks are ready to use straight out of the pack and require no refrigeration, with a two-year shelf life.

Farms that have adopted the blocks into their feeding protocols have recorded notable improvements to fish health and welfare, stable growth and reduced mortality rates – improving longevity and efficacy for the fish as sea lice hunters.

The company has a long history producing tailored diets for multi-species exhibits in some of the world’s largest public aquariums, creating innovative and practical presentation methods to deliver the best standard of nutrition. Sales Director Tom Noble was invited recently to talk at the Cleaner Fish Conference in Stord, Norway to discuss the company’s impact on cleaner fish and the multitude of benefits that VAF Feed Block diets hold for the aquaculture industry.

Cleaner fish distribution, pellets vs. feed block

Bolstering the effectiveness of the feed block diet, the company are now introducing them at the hatchery stage. Encouraging juvenile fish to feed at depth (as opposed to the surface as with pellet dispensers) at this early stage acclimates them to do so when deployed in the sea pen. This behavioural conditioning ultimately increases their contact time with salmon, and by extension sea lice.
A new “Platinum” version of the feed block, containing key dietary components known to support the immune system and maximise health and condition, is now available. The company recommends its use as part of a feeding programme during the pre/post deployment period, which offers optimum results for fish welfare during times of stress, such as the transportation process.

www.vitaaquafeeds.uk

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