Mowi has agreed a deal with Norwegian company Harbor to try out new technology aimed at protecting farmed salmon against sea lice.
The preventive measure, Harbor Fence, is a low-voltage electric barrier that prevents sea lice from entering the salmon cages.
The trial will involve the deployment of the fence to Mowi’s Rogne site, in the Møre and Romsdal region of Norway.
Henrik Trengereid, Group Manager Seawater Production Technology at Mowi, said that Harbor has shown interesting results over the past year and wanted to try out its Fence in a joint R&D project to document the effect on a large scale. The idea is to focus particularly on sites with challenging currents and wave heights.
In addition to the Rogne trial, Mowi also sees an opportunity to test the technology at another location next year.
Harbor and Mowi will collaborate closely through the first R&D project at Rogne, where the technology’s protective effect against salmon lice and impact on fish welfare will be documented. Operational safety and how the technology performs in exposed locations will also be measured.
Harbor has spent several years developing the Harbor Fence, and said it has already shown very good results for Nova Sea, with approximately 70% fewer adult lice than other locations in the same area.
This result has led to increased interest in the farming industry and has also been important for Mowi’s decision to test the technology.
The general manager of Harbor, Christian Bjørnsen, said the contract is important for the development of the company, and added that he was very pleased to have signed an R&D contract with such a large player as Mowi.
“This is what we have rigged the company for in recent years,” he said. “We have moved production from Hjelmeland to Dusavik just outside Stavanger, where we are able to increase production capacity significantly.”
Harbor Fence is a research-based and patented solution for combating salmon lice developed by Harbor AS. Findings from the research work have shown that louse larvae lose their ability to attach to salmon after exposure to small electromagnetic fields.
Harbor Fence utilises this effect through an enveloping electromagnetic field that is strung up around the cage. The field takes the form of an open fence and neutralizes lice larvae on their way into the cage.
Harbor Fence is locally effective and, the company says, does no harm to fish inside the cage. Good flow of water means that lice hatched inside the cage are also rendered harmless when they drift out of a Harbor Fence facility.
Bjørnsen said: “It contributes to reduced contamination of adjacent cages, in other locations and in villas. We look forward to a good and professional collaboration with Mowi.”