Cermaq Canada spending $14 million on new mechanical sea lice removal technology

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Will be used at all saltwater farm sites, primarily focused on sites in the Discovery Islands and Broughton Archipelago regions.

In a press release, Cermaq Canada writes that it is investing in technology to move towards non-chemical treatments for sea lice.

The SFI System, which has a similar cost to the “Salar “at roughly CAD 14 million (EUR 9 million) for both the unit and the vessel onto which it will be mounted, is currently under construction. The system is scheduled to arrive in Canada in early 2021 in advance of the sensitive period for out-migrating juvenile salmon.

Cermaq Canada wrote that it was building on the success of its Hydrolicer, the “Salar”, at its operations on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

The “Salar”. PHOTO: Cermaq Canada

“As a company, we made the global commitment to move to prevention and non-chemical means of treating for sea lice as our first lines of defence. Over the last few years, Cermaq has partnered with a company – Sea Farm Innovations (SFI), based in the Faroe Islands – on the development of a new technology, similar to our Hydrolicer,” said Cermaq Canada Managing Director David Kiemele.

“The SFI System uses only pressurized, ambient-temperature ocean water to remove sea lice and eggs using directional spray. No chemicals or medications are used for the treatment and the system captures the removed lice and eggs for disposal on land following treatment,” added Kiemele.

More compact
However, the system differs from the Hydrolicer in its set up and portability, wrote the salmon farmer.

“The system is significantly more compact than the Hydrolicer, and it will be on a vessel, which means our employees will be able to travel between farm sites without the use of a tug boat,” said the Managing Director.

The system can treat 200 tonnes of fish per hour, under ideal conditions.

“The unit has been designed with fish welfare in mind. We have used this technology at our farms in Chile with good success and we are excited to bring it here to our Canadian operations,” said Brock Thomson, Innovation Director for Cermaq Canada.

“The fish are brought into the SFI System through the intake pump, where they then travel to the gravity controlled flushing chamber. The system has a patented flushing technology that loosens, then removes sea lice from the fish. The system does a great job of removing lice, while still being gentle on the fish. The short treatment duration – about 0.2 seconds per fish – is also important to note as this creates minimal stress, which also helps to support better welfare for our fish,” explained Thomson.

Before arriving in Canada, the system will be trialled at Cermaq’s Norwegian operations to ensure the system is ready for use and commissioning prior to it making the journey to Canadian waters. Once it reaches Canada, it will be required to pass through Canadian inspections to ensure it meets safety and other regulations.

In recent years, Cermaq Canada investments include the CAD 14 million Hydrolicer, new Poseidon Ocean Systems farming structures which are designed and manufactured in Campbell River, British Columbia and most recently, the SCCS (Semi-Closed Containment System) which will be trialled at Cermaq Canada’s Millar Channel farm site this autumn.

Cermaq Canada is located on the west coast of Canada has 25 salmon farm licences and operates four hatcheries across northern Vancouver Island.


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