Novel approach to sea lice control

Drive to increase harvests of Scottish salmon has received a £1.76m boost Drive to increase harvests of Scottish salmon has received a £1.76m boost

Following a successful application to the European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF), the drive to reduce sea lice and increase harvests of Scottish salmon has received a £1.76m boost.

The award was coordinated by the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) on behalf of 11 companies, and will enable a range of alternative technologies and approaches to be trialled in Scottish waters.

This means the waters can be evaluated for their ability to reduce sea lice – a naturally occurring parasite that affects farmed fish, costing the global industry over $1bn each year.

“The technologies being explored are capital intensive and their outcomes in Scottish waters are as yet unknown, therefore the financial and operational risks to industry are significant,” said Heather Jones, SAIC CEO.

He added: “By reducing those risks, this EMFF award will help catalyse trials on a commercial scale as opposed to an ad hoc or local basis.”

As part of the EMFF award, SAIC will commission a research project to capture the lessons learned, and share best practice with the wider sector and supply chain.

There is also the potential to develop next generation technology for sale at home and abroad.

The award will be officially announced today at the Farmed Finfish Summit, hosted by Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, as part of a £2.5m European funding boost to support sustainable growth and investment in Scottish aquaculture.

Jim Gallagher, managing director of Scottish Sea Farms and one of the partners involved in the Thermolicer trials, added: “Everyone is clear on the real and urgent need to reduce sea lice. However significant capital investment is required to trial new solutions. The EMFF award is contributing additional resources to those invested by industry, enabling Scottish trials on a commercial scale.”

He concluded: “The new equipment will be accessible by many companies in Scotland’s salmon sector, supporting the industry’s common purpose in accelerating the widespread adoption of effective sea lice controls.”

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