A gill-health project involving Scottish Sea Farms and feed maker BioMar has received GBP 800,000 in funding from the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre, the European Union and Scottish Development International, SalmonBusiness has learned.
Biologists from the University of Aberdeen, supported by Marine Scotland Science, have also been brought in to the two-year project, called Clinical Nutrition and Treatment of Atlantic Salmon Gill Diseases. They’re all after “innovative diagnostic tools to precisely monitor the gill condition of salmon in seawater pens, along with devising new feeds to promote optimum health and welfare”, a statement from SAIC said.
“The new diagnostic tools will enable salmon farmers to fine-tune their husbandry practices to the conditions of the local marine environment, aided by rapid-response modelling of risk factors,” SAIC stated, adding that, “Natural feed ingredients with protective properties — known as functional feeds — will also be added to the range of health management tools available to Scotland’s salmon farmers.”
Ralph Bickerdike, head of fish health at Scottish Sea Farms, said their participation was simply about improving fish welfare.
“This research will help identify ever-more effective approaches to protecting our salmon against this key environmental challenge.”
Elisabeth Aasum, R&D manager at BioMar, said gill health was top priority for the feed maker.
“This increases the knowledge output and ensures applicable feed solutions for the future. We are enthusiastic to work within a SAIC-funded initiative, since this provides a platform for collaboration and knowledge exchange between a wide range of stakeholders.”