Major feed company Skretting announced today it has entered into a contract with Norwegian company Calanus for the development and documentation of a product based on the marine zooplankton Calanus finmarchicus to counteract sea-lice infestations in salmon and trout.
Commercial scale field trials by selected farmers in Chile and Norway are now starting.
Pelagic stages of Calanus finmarchicus and the infective stage of salmon lice are derived from a common ancestor and have many similarities. Therefore they may share what researchers call immunological structures.
The trials will test whether it is possible to achieve higher protection from salmon lice by stimulating the immune system of the salmon with this new zooplankton product.
It is known that the immune system of mammals can be stimulated to improve protection against external parasites. It has also been documented that the immune system of salmon can be improved to repel lice attacks.
“The development of new, alternative salmon lice treatments is important. Although the outcome of this project is unknown, we believe the idea is too good not to try it out,” said David Knudsen, Skretting’s international product manager raw materials.
Sea-lice infection is a major problem for the fish-farming industry in Chile, Canada, UK and Norway. If the test results are sufficiently positive, the product will be launched for commercial use.
“We are very pleased with the agreement and that Skretting is willing to invest significant resources to test our product on a commercial scale, in an attempt to help the fish farmers solve a serious problem", says Gunnar Rørstad, managing director, Calanus AS.
Skretting is the world leader in the production and supply of feed for farmed fish.
Calanus® AS is a Norwegian company focusing on the harvesting and utilisation of the abundant north-Atlantic zooplankton Calanus finmarchicus.