As one of the most significant challenges facing the aquaculture industry, it’s estimated that sea lice cost the Norwegian Fish Industry 10 billion NOK per year.
Today, sea lice counting is performed manually, with 10 to 20 fish being temporarily removed from the cages each week, sedated and closely inspected for lice. With a monthly average of 3700 cages in production across Norway this method is labour intensive, estimated to take 300 M NOK of man hours annually and leads to excessive or inappropriate treatment due to poor data.
Proper control of data and sea lice counting is essential to evaluate the efficiency of sea lice treatment carried out and further preventative efforts. If allowed to reach full size, these natural yet damaging parasites prevent the fish from growing, ultimately resulting in mortality. As a result, monitoring and consequently treating the salmon comes under strict regulatory control.
The current manual handling process has an impact on the welfare of the fish and with each cage holding approximately 200,000 fish the small sample that's taken provides unreliable and unrepresentative data.
The industry requires good data to optimize treatment, decrease the loss of biomass, reduce costs and the environmental impact.
Fish farmers also ask for better biomass measurement systems, reliable predictive analytics for sea lice infection, detection of disease based on fish health and environmental data.