At this site, Letsea has not had to delouse at all this year

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Two-fold success formula.

“Now we have scanned 21,000 fish in this cage. So we are almost 100 per cent sure of the weight of the fish. It is 3,985 grams today. Yesterday it was 24 grams less.

That’s what Tor Hugo Hestnes says. He sprawls around the deck on Letsea’s feed barge at Husvik, Northern Norway.

No delousing
“Very little lice, we did not have delousing in 2019, and only three cages had mechanical delousing in 2018,” said Hestnes, who is the department manager of fish health company Letsea.

“In relation to budget delousing costs and real costs used for delousing so far this year, we are very well placed,” Hestnes said to SalmonBusiness.

The explanation is two-fold.

“The secret is that we first use skirts. Long before the fish goes out. And lumpfish. We regularly run refills of cleaner fish throughout the trial period and may end up with up to 25 per cent interposition periods of high lice pressure during the last phase of the trial period before harvesting.”

Letsea’s site Seiskjæret is located in Husvær on Helgeland. PHOTO: Aslak Berge

Warm sea
“We have 1-2 per cent interposition. We feed it with our own feed. We take care of it species of its own. We fill up gradually. We have had up to 25 per cent lumpfish.”

“Especially when there is such weather as now. The lumpfish do not like particularly high temperatures, warm sea, 13-14 degrees, as it is now. We are committed to keeping track of the number and interposition. We count dead lumpfish every day. If you do not know how many lumpfish you have, you can also not measure the effect.”

Read more: Major new lumpfish study: “It’s quite striking, you are talking about reducing sea lice between 30 to 50 per cent”

The sun is glittering on the sea. It is t-shirt weather, windy conditions and excellent conditions for rapid growth in the cages.

 

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“It’s fine here today. Now we feed 30 tonnes per day. We feed 2-3 cages at a time. Around 700,000 salmon. 5-12 percent cleaning fish. We have harvested from three cages. We took out fish at 7.5 kilos from cage 3,” said Hestnes.

“We were informed by the market that some of the fish were over 15 kilos,” says Fredrik Nordøy, who runs the Nordøy Sea export company in Sandnessjøen, Northern Norway.

Exposed
At the top floor of the feed fleet “Havstein”, the production is supervised form the operating room. Crystal-clear and high-resolution color images on the nine screens keep staff updated on life above and below water.

“Of course, this can also be controlled from land. It is an exposed site,” said Hestnes.

PHOTO: Aslak Berge