GB£800,000 project to enhance gill health in farmed salmon

Farmed salmon A new collaborative project will develop diagnostic tools to precisely monitor the gill condition of salmon in seawater pens. Image courtesy of Scottish Sea Farms

A new £798,400 research project aims to help accelerate understanding of gill health issues in farmed salmon and identify new approaches to overcoming these issues.

The two-year collaborative ‘Clinical Nutrition and Treatment of Atlantic Salmon Gill Diseases’ project will develop diagnostic tools to precisely monitor the gill condition of salmon in seawater pens, along with devising new feeds to promote optimum health and welfare. It combines expertise in feed manufacture and salmon farming, from BioMar and Scottish Sea Farms respectively, with fish health expertise from the University of Aberdeen, supported by Marine Scotland Science.

Speaking about the project, which has a GB£284,000 Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) grant contribution, Ralph Bickerdike, head of fish health at Scottish Sea Farms, said: “As responsible farmers, we are constantly exploring new ways to further improve the welfare of the salmon in our care – and this cross-sector collaboration has the potential to do exactly that.”

The new diagnostic tools will enable salmon farmers to fine-tune their husbandry practices to the conditions of the local marine environment, aided by rapid-response modelling of risk factors. Natural feed ingredients with protective properties – known as functional feeds – will also be added to the range of health management tools available to Scotland’s salmon farmers.

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