Stingray - The Sea Lice Project

As a result of many years innovating and a great portion of the inventor's creativity, Esben Beck came up with the idea to use machine vision and laser to deal with the sea lice problem in salmon breeding. In the beginning of 2010 this idea already had a patent pending and Beck Engineering could start planning for building its own project. Previous successful and similar complex technology projects within oil, gas and industrial automation gave the team know-how and confidence to go ahead.

Phase 1
For the last couple of years Beck Engineering has developed and intensified the work with a method for optical sea lice treatment that is expected to set a new standard in the salmon farming industry. Phase 1 of this project started in February 2011 and ended in December 2011. The scope of that work was to have a proof of concept and to show that it is possible to track, recognise and shoot lice with an optical method containing a laser. Research proved that it is possible to kill the lice without injuring the treated fish in controlled environments and in a laboratory. Phase 1 was funded by FHF (The Fishery and Aquaculture Industry Research Fund), the three industry partners and Beck Engineering.

Phase 2
Innovation Norway, Marine Harvest, Lerøy Seafood Group and SalMar agreed with Beck Engineering on a so-called IFU-contract (Industrial Research- and Development-contract) that will last from December 2011 to March 2013. The innovative method will during these 15 months be tested in realistic environments and further developed. Presicion, fish health and safety will be some of the main concerns on the project agenda.

Beck Engineering will together with our partners focus on creating a sustainable and environment friendly method for delousing farmed fish. Our aim is to commercialize and fine-tune the optical sea lice treatment in 2013.

Beck Engineering develops a ground breaking method for reducing the sea lice infestation in the salmon breeding industry. Photo sequence of laser targeting a sea louse.

The Big Issue

"Lepeophtheirus salmonis, a type of sea louse specific to salmonids (salmon, trout and char), is a natural parasite of saltwater salmon, and is present in all sea areas in the Northern Hemisphere. The salmon louse is the commonest parasite in farmed salmon, and is a persistent problem in the fish farming industry. The scale of the problem has increased substantially with the growing prevalence of fish farming. The more farmed fish there are in the sea, the more “hosts” there are for the lice to attach themselves to. And that means more louse eggs spreading in the water."

Norwegian Food Safety Authority

 

"Sea lice are the most common parasite on farmed salmon, and the biggest health issue for the industry. For a number of years, oral and bath treatments have been used to combat sea lice. Our monitoring of sea lice shows that their numbers are increasing noticeably, and that in some cases they are developing resistance to the favoured treatment."

Institute of Marine Research

 

"The regulations in force require compulsory treatment of salmon lice when the number of lice exceeds a certain limit (action limit). An increasing number of fish farmers are using wrasse (which eats lice) to control the levels of salmon lice in the cages. Other methods, such as mechanical removal or the use of veterinary medicinal products, are also in use. New methods continue to be developed and the aim is gradually to replace and reduce chemical treatments through the introduction of alternative methods of action."

The Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs

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