Cooke calls in Thermolicer for summer sea-lice battles

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New Brunswick Canada’s Cooke Aquaculture has added a first vessel equipped with a Norwegian-developed Thermolicer to its fleet, hoping the technology’s hot-water baths will help clear the company’s salmon of sea lice.

The Steinsvik-made Thermolicer is part of what the company called an investment drive to bolster the its chemical-free anti-lice toolkit.

“Trialled last summer, this technique has proven to be 98-percent effective at removing the lice without harming the fish. This is an exciting evolution in sea lice management for us,” company communications lead, Joel Richardson,” said in a statement.

Richardson said the company has now invested millions of dollars in research, development and engineering to build a complement of “green” sea-lice treatment options free of chemical baths or not related to feed. The Canadian government now also has a program of financial aid available for salmon-farmers who want to upgrade their equipment in search of greener operations.

The Thermolicer, which flushes sea lice from salmon during a 30 second on-board bath, has now been brought it into service aboard the service vessel, Miss Mildred.

“The Thermolicer exploits a vulnerability of sea lice that we know do not tolerate sudden changes in water temperature,” the statement said.

The company also plans to take into use two other systems this summer: the in-house designed, Cooke R, and the Hydrolicer, which uses water pressure to blast lice off of fish.

“Each of these mechanical sea lice removal tools are effective and environmentally responsible,” Cooke’s communique said.