Jumping through oil to remove lice – does it work?

Chemical use in controlling parasites in salmon aquaculture can have a variety of negative impacts, including poor fish welfare and the release of chemicals into the environment after treatment, which can affect ecosystems and the sea life living in them. With this in mind, researchers from the University of Melbourne and Institute of Marine Research teamed up to test if a floating oil layer containing a dissolved chemical could be combined with an innate salmon behaviour to remove lice. They found that the presence of an oil layer did not deter salmon from jumping through it. Also, they found that as the concentration of the chemical dissolved in the oil layer increased, lice removal also increased. This alternative chemical treatment administration method would require minimal fish handling and also allow for simple recollection after treatment, and is therefore more environmentally friendly. It’s a win-win for everyone!


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