New sea lice removal technology ready for action

March 28, 2018 - Campbell River, B.C.

Another new tool is about to be added to Marine Harvest’s fish health tool box that will help ensure the company continues to effectively manage sea lice levels on its fish, as well as reach its certification targets that includes continued reduction of medicine use.

Hydrolicer: Global Salmon InitiativeHydrolicer image: Global Salmon Initiative

A non-medicinal machine called the Hydrolicer is now ready to get to work knocking off the tiny crustaceans that naturally live on the skin of many fish in the ocean.   

The method is quite simple, says Gerry Burry, who has taken the lead for Marine Harvest Canada’s research and development of the system’s applicability in British Columbia. “We use water pressure to carefully get between the sea louse and the salmon’s skin. Once the sea lice are separated from the salmon, we can capture them for disposal.” 

While the process is simple, the technology used is specially designed and carefully tweaked to make sure stress on the salmon is minimal. “We want to make sure that while the system removes sea lice, it is also delicate to our fish. We won’t accept anything less than a quick and safe process that ensures our fish are kept as stress free as possible,” Gerry says.

The Hydrolicer gets to work at Marine Harvest just before another method of organic sea lice removal sails into Canada. The brand-new 75 metre ship (MV “Blue Revolution”) will arrive mid-2018 and will provide a freshwater bath for the company’s salmon. Freshwater bathing is an effective method of removing sea lice from salmon (sea lice only live in saltwater) and can also provide therapy to a fish’s gills if required. If necessary, the vessel can also provide an enclosed treatment centre for application of hydrogen peroxide to aid in gill repair and sea lice removal.

If you’re interested to see the result of Marine Harvest’s sea lice management, you can view monthly updates that provide the most current sea lice levels and treatment methods at http://marineharvest.ca/planet.