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Using Mussels to Protect Salmon against Amoebic Gill Disease

04 June 2014

UK - The use of shellfish and seaweed to consume waste produced by fish farms, particularly in farms attached to other ocean structures is being researched as a means for improving and protecting the marine environment.

In some research, mussels have been found to consume sea lice and they can also take up bacteria in the water.

Research at the department of Applied Marine and Fishery Ecology at Aberdeen University is looking at the susceptibility of blue mussels to amoebic gill disease and the biosecurity of integrated multi-trophic aquaculture.

In a presentation at the recent Aquaculture UK conference and exhibition in Aviemore Scotland, doctorate student Christine Rolin said that Amoebic Gill Disease caused by Neoparamoeba perurans can produce mortality of 10 to 20m per cent in salmon farms and the death rate can rise to 70 per cent.

“The disease has now spread across the world,” said Ms Rolin.

The research carried out by Aberdeen University investigated the potential for the disease in salmon cages and mussel beds by taking samples from sites across the waters around Scotland.

To date the research has shown no Amoebic Gill Disease in the mussel beds or the salmon cages, but Ms Rolin said that there is little understood about the disease and little development for treatments.

She said that if can filter the cause of the disease, then they could be a good biological treatment and she said that research also needed to be carried out to see if scallops and lobsters could do a similar task and be mixed with salmon farms.

“They could all be good potential sources offering protection to salmon farms,” she said.

Chris Harris

Chris Harris

Top image via Shutterstock

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