Zapping lice eggs to reduce infestation pressure

Photo by Luke Barrett

In all farming systems, both researchers and farmers are always trying to find new ways to control and manage pest populations. Sea lice infestations in Atlantic salmon farms are a huge issue, causing considerable welfare problems to farmed and wild salmon. Therefore, interest in developing new methods that prevent lice infestations from occurring in the first place is gaining momentum within the industry. Researchers from the University of Melbourne and Institute of Marine Research tested if ultraviolet C light (UVC) could be used as a new preventative method that sterilises lice eggstrings in the water column. They exposed lice eggstrings to a range of UVC intensities and durations and found that cumulative doses were the most important variable in eggstring mortality. Future research will need to determine if applying UVC doses within a farm-setting is feasible, while being fish welfare and environmentally friendly.

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