Big investments in lumpfish against sea lice

Can lumpfish become a new adventure for the Nor-wegian aquaculture industry?
2015 lumpfishImage: Lumpfish - a new sustainable export article?

AKVA group, together with its subsidiary Plastsveis AS (a company specializing in land based farms, HDPE piping and tank solutions), now deliver technology and solutions to several exciting land based projects producing lumpfish to combat sea lice. The interest and commitments to seriously invest in these projects show we have a responsible industry making a sincere effort to fight sea lice in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way.

Why produce lumpfish?

With sea lice being one of the main problems limiting the growth of the salmon farming industry, many alternative solutions to chemical and medical treatments to prevent or remove sea lice are being researched and developed industry wide. This is a result of the intensified focus on bio-security and fish welfare. But, there is no doubt that the best biological and financial results are also achieved when fish welfare is safeguarded. Lumpfish eating the sea lice parasites off the salmon, while swimming together inside the cages, has proven to be a very gentle and effective method to remove the lice.

AKVA group emphasize that an important factor in development of such new solutions is that they also are sustainable over time. We must avoid a situation where we only depend on chemical or medical treatments that the sea lice can develop resistance to.

Approximately 8–10% lumpfish per cage has proven to effectively removing sea lice. This means a need for almost 40 million lumpfish per year in Norway. This is such a volume that the industry cannot rely solely on wild caught lumpfish, so farming them is the solution. By doing so we can avoid overexploitation of natural populations and minimize our footprint in nature.

2015 lumpfish02
Photo: Nordland Rensefisk AS. The lumpfish has quite different needs those of the more common species.

Extensive ripple effects for the supplier industry

For us, this is also an opportunity into a new aquaculture adventure, says Sten Roald Lorentzen, Man-aging Director at Plastsveis AS. He continues on reflecting on the growing interest and serious investments in biological solutions to our indu-stry’s challenges. This interest proves that an entire industry, and all of us working in it, are making serious efforts to defeat sea lice in a way that protects both fish and environment. As a direct result of these investments, a new branch of the aquaculture industry is about to take form along the Norwegian coast, creating new jobs and opportunities in rural areas. For the supplier industry, this is already the start of an exciting new journey. We are very happy to lead the way and to prove our role as a solid technology partner, both able and willing to help our customers solve new challenges, Mr. Lorentzen ends.

A new Norwegian export article?

Lumpfish is a relatively new specie used to fight sea lice within the salmon industry. With sea lice also being a problem in other salmon farming regions, lumpfish may also be a solution there. But, this is a specie with special biological needs completely different from salmon. Norway’s advantage here is that we have both the biological and technical aquaculture knowhow, acquired over several decades, needed to develop such a new specie into industrial scale farming.

Combined with an industry culture willing and able to share experience and knowledge, this has resulted in domestication and commercialization of lumpfish production in record time. AKVA group expects the solutions and competence acquired from this pioneering work will bring us opportunities and profitable business also in export markets in the near future.

ole gabriel kverneland

Ole Gabriel Kverneland
Sales Manager – Land Based (Nordic)
AKVA group ASA