Salmon farming is a science-based industry and research is crucial to finding ways to continually improve. We are involved in many different projects.
Sea lice research
Sea lice are small, external parasites found naturally in the ocean. In B.C. there are two species of sea lice, Lepeophtheirus salmonis, which preys only on salmon species, and Caligus clemensi, which preys on numerous species of fish, including herring and sticklebacks.
Our salmon enter the marine farms from freshwater hatcheries free of sea lice. Once in the ocean, farmed salmon can pick up sea lice from the natural environment.
Sea lice are generally not a health problem for our fish, but there are concerns that farmed salmon could pass them back to the wild stocks, particularly very small wild salmon smolts.
For this reason, sea lice are regularly monitored and counted on our fish. This is done in accordance with government regulations.
Sea Lice management strategies may include harvesting the fish, or feeding the fish feed which contains SLICE®, a licensed veterinary drug that rids the salmon of the parasite. SLICE® is milled into the feed, and is a Health Canada-approved treatment for sea lice in farmed Atlantic salmon. This is currently the only government-approved sea lice treatment in B.C.
Since 2004, we have participated in a wild salmon sea lice sampling program in Clayoquot Sound to help us better understand sea lice dynamics in the region. In 2016, we joined our industry partners in a sampling program on Vancouver Island's East Coast.