Aquaculture for all

Lice lasers - the final frontier of delousing technology?

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Following extensive and thorough evaluation, the use of laser technology has been shown to be effective for the removal of salmon lice whilst being gentle on the hosts, according to Cermaq, which will begin to employ the technology over the coming months.

The laser technology has been shown to effectively remove salmon lice whilst causing little stress to the fish

© Mowi/Stingray Marine Solutions

The laser delousing technology is now used by many salmon farmers to monitor and protect more than 50 million salmon and trout around the clock.

After extensive testing to ensure delousing efficiency whilst causing as little stress as possible to the fish, Cermaq aims to install laser delousing technology at its Veggfjell and Svartfjell sites over the next few weeks, and lasers will be installed at several sea sites in the months to come. In total, around 140 lasers will be installed.

Cermaq will continue to evaluate the effect of the lasers, with a separate team of laser operators who will ensure optimal placement and operation of the lasers. An important part of the project will be to further develop their procedures with the aim of achieving best practice and the best possible result from using lasers.

“Lice lasers have been shown to keep lice levels down. We can then avoid many mechanical delousing measures and thus we avoid stressing the fish leaving them swimming in peace and quiet. Cermaq's goal is to control the level of lice to the greatest extent possible with preventive technology and laser is one of several measures that we now want to increase the use of to ensure the best possible fish welfare," said Karl Fredrik Ottem, head of fish health at Cermaq Norway.

“The laser nodes also come with advanced monitoring of the level of lice and fish welfare, so that the sea sites will get a good insight into the development of lice and the health of the fish. Thus, we believe the use of lice lasers is the right step in terms of ensuring both fish welfare and the most sustainable production possible,” he added.

The laser technology, provided by the Norwegian aquatech company Stingray Marine Solutions, will complement a range of other louse prevention techniques, such as submersible cages and deep feeding, currently in use by Cermaq.

“This is a new and important milestone for us at Stingray, where we have already gained important experience for a couple of years and have been able to develop a good collaboration with Cermaq,” said John Breivik, managing director at Stingray Marine Solutions.

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