Modelling the threat of the salmon louse

30 Jan 2014

SINTEF, the largest independent research organisation in Scandinavia based in Norway has developed a detailed chart of marine currents along the coast of Nordland.

Now the team is getting interest in their models from third parties. The researchers have recently been focusing on the Norwegian coast from Stadt to Troms, carrying out a major project for the county authorities finding out how salmon louse and viruses can spread by ocean currents and wind.

All the fish farming facilities around the islands of Hitra and Frøya have been plotted onto a chart and a simulated infection can be made to occur at one of the sites. The scientists can then watch how the disease spreads.

The model has been developed by SINTEF and established through a partnership project with the Norwegian Seafood Federation (FHL), Nordnorsk havbrukslag (Northern Norwegian fish farming association), Nordland county authorities and Helgeland Havbruksstasjon, which was responsible for project management.

Helgeland Havbruksstasjon, NCE Aquaculture and Sintef Fisheries and Aquaculture are now all undergoing training in the use of the models.

The researchers say that this knowledge will help the industry be better prepared to deal with fish diseases, shipwrecks, pollution and algal blooms.

Dag Slagstad and his team of researchers at SINTEF Fisheries & Aquaculture have been using their models to study ecosystems and the effects of climate change for many years. Using their models, they have been able to predict the drop in pH values in the Barents Sea and the increase in dissolved carbon dioxide in the ocean making life more difficult for certain types of shellfish.