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Combatting Sea lice With Genetics

16 May 2011
© Nofima (formerly Fiskeriforskning)

NORWAY - Tests on three age groups of farmed Atlantic salmon point to the same conclusion: that there is a huge variation in how well various salmon families tackle salmon lice.

A breeding company is now putting Nofima’s research results into practice and offering eggs that are more resistant to lice.

Nofima has also found a high genetic correlation between the numbers of sessile and motile adult lice on the salmon. When fewer lice attach to the fish, there are also fewer sexually mature lice. Consequently, testing of various families’ resistance to lice can now be limited to the number of sessile lice per fish, in controlled challenge experiments.

Less delousing

“The number of lice per fish determines whether delousing is required. When selective breeding contributes to reducing the number of lice per fish, it will over time result in less delousing events,” says Nofima Senior Scientist Bjarne Gjerde. “With fewer lice per fish, the infection pressure on wild salmon populations will also reduce.”

Lice resistance on the market

Nofima’s research is now being put into commercial use by the breeding company SalmoBreed, which from this year is selling eggs from breeding lines specially selected for increased resistance against salmon lice.

The experiments have been carried out on SalmoBreed’s salmon material at Nofima’s sea-based research station at Averøy over a period from 2008 to the present day. SalmoBreed has chosen that its future testing of its family material against lice will take place at Averøy.

This research is financed by the Research Council of Norway, the Fishery and Aquaculture Industry Research Fund (FHF) and SalmoBreed AS.

TheFishSite News Desk © Nofima )


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