Aquaculture North America

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Cooke Aquaculture working on new sea lice solution


November 14, 2016
By Muriel Hendrix

Atlantic Canada and Maine-based Cooke Aquaculture is developing an environment-friendly and less-costly process for removing sea lice from farmed salmon.

         The New Brunswick-based company received $3.2 million in funding from the Canadian government to develop the process, which uses warm water to remove sea lice from salmon. It reportedly achieves a 95-percent removal rate and provides a green alternative to managing sea lice outbreaks. The parasites attach themselves to the bodies of both wild and farmed fish, feeding on their mucus and skin.

         Successful implementation of the project will directly benefit Cooke Aquaculture by reducing losses caused by sea lice.  Cooke estimates sea lice infestation in New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador alone have cost the industry more than $75 million over the last five years.

         The Canadian government says $3 million of the funding is conditionally repayable, while $247,000 is coming from Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Cooke is also providing about $1.9 million towards the $5.1-million project.

         The company processes and sells 115,000 metric tons of Atlantic salmon every year and has operations in the Atlantic provinces, the United States, Chile, Spain, Argentina, and the United Kingdom.