The Scottish salmon industry expressed a clear commitment to increase investment in tackling sea lice during 2019, according to a poll conducted by SAIC, the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre.

At a collaborative workshop attended by nearly 50 industry peers, delegates were asked about their investment intentions for the next 12 months for dealing with sea lice – one of the industry's most enduring challenges.

All of the respondents envisaged investment being equal to or greater than in 2018, with 45 percent stating greater levels of investment in 2019. These figures represented a range of organisations from across industry, academia, and the public sector.

The survey also showed acknowledgement across the board that more could be done to tackle sea lice. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents agreed that the aquaculture community could do more to improve sea lice management.

Robin Shields, Senior Aquaculture Innovation Manager at SAIC, said, 'It's encouraging to see the aquaculture community not only recognising the perennial challenge of sea lice but showing a commitment to investing in new ways of addressing the issue.

'Collaboration between industry and academia will be crucial to successfully dealing with sea lice through novel approaches and technologies. We're keen to engage with the widest range of expertise possible to discuss issues and ideas for what can be done.

Last year, Mowi and Scottish Sea Farms announced a breakthrough in the rearing of cleaner fish – seen by many as a key stage in the process of finding a sustainable solution to dealing with sea lice.

Robin Shields added, 'While we've seen successes in the field over the last few years which have led to a reduction in sea lice numbers, there's always room for improvement. Given the value of salmon to Scotland's economy, it's incumbent upon all of us to work together and look for solutions.'

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