Sea Lice Greatly Affecting Salmon Production Globally

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Pests have been disrupting the supplies of salmon in a worldwide scale. Sea lice are considered to be the biggest threat to salmon farming. They are the reason why salmons are getting more expensive to the consumers.

Sea Lice Eating Salmon

Sea lice are small crustaceans that are considered parasites when they target a specific host. This time, they are preying on farmed salmons mostly in Canada, Scotland, Norway, Chile, and the USA. These countries are known as big suppliers of salmon in a global scale.

The sea lice are threats because they attach themselves to salmons and feed on them. They can reduce the numbers of salmon in an area because these sea lice have big populations. Otherwise, if the salmon fishes live after harvesting, they become unsuitable for human consumption.

Sea lice are naturally present in water, but they thrive more where their hosts are abundant. These crustaceans aren’t the source of a disease, but they bring with them bacteria and viruses that may spread within a concentrated area like fish pens.

A bite of a sea lice results to abrasion-like lesions on the skin of the salmon fish. In every bite, the blood, fluid, electrolytes of the poor fish flow to spread in water. Furthermore, these make the salmon susceptible to other diseases which reduces their performance and may stop their growth.

Counterattack

The plague of sea lice made the farmers raise their salmon prices up to 50 percent from last year. If they are not eliminated, fish will be more expensive to consumers. Salmon is rich in omega fatty acids which are good for the heart.

The counterattacks made to control the population of these pests include the use of Thermolicer in pen. This device warms the water which will result in the detachment of the lice from the fishes.

Moreover, they also employed the use of zapping with lasers to kill lice along with creating whirls for the salmon to swim through. The pressure and velocity of the whirling water detach the lice from the salmons’ skin.

Before, salmons were fed with pesticides containing emamectin benzoate which was effective to kill lice. However, the crustaceans adapted to the pesticide’s effects. Now, pesticides don’t have any effect on them anymore.

Though the above methods exist, they’re still not enough as sea lice have crept into the global supply and been affecting them. The challenge for the scientists and farmers alike is to discover an effective method which would eradicate the pest in one big swoop without spending large sums of money.