Antibiotics use down but sea lice counts show mixed results for Canada’s salmon producers

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The use of antibiotics and medicinal delousing treatment has declined in 2021 for the two Canadian member companies of the Global Salmon Initiative (GSI).

Data from the GSI, which use the Aquaculture Stewardship Council Salmon Standard as a benchmark, show that Cermaq Canada and Grieg Seafood reduced their use of antibiotics in 2021 by 7 percent and 33 percent, respectively, from the previous year.

The sea lice count at Cermaq averaged 2.47 per fish per month last year, up from 1.32 the previous year. But it is worth noting that 2021 marked the year when Cermaq used the least medicinal-in-feed treatment – 0.13 g of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) used per tonne of fish produced – since 2014.

At Grieg Seafood, the average sea lice per fish per month in 2021 was 0.69, down from 1.49 in 2020. Its use of medicinal in-feed treatment went down by 33 percent to 41.67 g of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) used per tonne of fish produced, from 2020.

Canadian regulators have set three as the allowable sea lice limit per fish, so the sea lice counts from both companies are within the threshold. The Canadian data reflect the global trends reported by the rest of GSI’s 17 members worldwide.

Mowi has farms in Canada but it left the GSI in 2020.