Turning ill health to gill health
The research group – consisting of Loch Duart, Nevis Marine, the University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture, Pulcea, Norway’s Institute of Marine Research, and the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) – will test the effect of fresh and low salinity water on fish’s gills. The project could also help find new ways of reducing the impact of sea lice.
Using freshwater to treat fish affected by amoebic gill disease is a well-established practice in aquaculture. However, transferring seawater-adapted salmon to freshwater conditions can cause short-term stress for the fish and, in some cases, lead to mortalities. Cleaner fish – which remove parasites – are also averse to freshwater conditions.
Building on research undertaken by Loch Duart, the consortium will use a range of techniques – developed across the globe, including gas infusion from Canada, membrane filtration from Norway, and water quality monitoring from Australia – to test the effect of a variety of water parameters on fish, including temperature, oxygenation, pressure, salinity, and pH levels. The project will then seek to determine the right balance of conditions for treating salmon with compromised gill health.