SCOTLAND’S leading salmon and trout producers have united in a bid to extend the usage and efficacy of two of the most environmentally friendly sea lice treatments.
Farmers currently treat against sea lice – a key barrier to growth in the industry – by bathing the fish either in freshwater or hydrogen peroxide, which quickly breaks down into water and oxygen.
Now, Marine Harvest Scotland and Dawnfresh Seafoods will look at what happens when freshwater and the hydrogen peroxide based treatment Paramove are combined.
The project, with Solvay Interox, Aqua Pharma and Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture – co-funded by the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC), aims to achieve even better control of sea lice, reduced use of medicines and shorter treatment times – all of which will further enhance fish health and welfare, and help deliver higher production volumes.
Richard Hopewell, fish health manager for Dawnfresh Seafoods and lead industry partner, said: ‘This is early stage, investigative work being conducted within controlled tanks at the Marine Environmental Research Laboratory, part of the University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture, based at Machrihanish.
‘There, we hope to confirm the efficacy of using freshwater and Paramove in conjunction with one another and, in doing so, contribute to the ongoing efforts of the industry in sea lice control.’
SAIC CEO Heather Jones said: ‘This project has the potential to be particularly ground breaking. Not only does it see salmon and trout producers unite against a key challenge, but if it succeeds in delivering a more effective sea lice control using available, environmentally friendly resources then the entire sector stands to make huge commercial gains in the drive to grow Scotland’s market share.’
It is thought that the 12-month, £242,985 project could lead to further collaboration between salmon and trout producers to establish the therapeutic value of other approved sea lice treatments at low salinities.