Sea lice treatment shows 100% efficacy

Sea lice on trout Sea lice on a trout. Image courtesy of Freshwater and Marine Image Bank
Industry Database

The first commercial scale field trial of a sea lice treatment in Norway has showed 100% efficacy.

Benchmark Holdings plc’s Ectosan sea lice treatment could be a breakthrough development in addressing one of the salmon industry’s biggest disease challenges. Its purification system CleanTreat, used in the trial to remove any detectable traces of medicine from treatment water before it was discharged into the ocean, has also been noted for its zero contamination properties.

Malcolm Pye, CEO of Benchmark, commented: “This is major breakthrough for Benchmark and the salmon industry. The combination of our next generation sea lice treatment, together with CleanTreat represents a transformational change in the battle against one of the industry’s greatest challenges, and a big step towards a future where no medicinal residues are discharged directly into the oceans.”

Profit-boosting potential

In 2016, sea lice infestation resulted in a 5% contraction in the production of salmon in Norway, equivalent to 70,000 tons or an estimated $500m at current market prices.

Benchmark will continue field trials in key markets through 2018 and 2019.

Mr Pye added: “Given its significance to the industry and interest expressed by our customers, we expect to see substantial demand for the treatment and look forward to providing the treatment more widely upon regulatory approval.”

Following purification by the CleanTreat system, water is tested to ensure no medicinal particles are detectable before being discharged back into the ocean. The system is believed to be the first of its kind to be used in aquaculture and Benchmark said it is exploring commercial deployment in other markets also.

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