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Grieg Seafood BC Adds State-of-the-art Mechanical Sea Lice Removal

Fisheries and Aquaculture news and feature stories
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Grieg Seafood Canada Website

Above: The Coastal Server, the latest vessel to join Grieg Seafood BC Ltd.’s fleet

CAMPBELL RIVER, BC - Dec. 21, 2021 – Grieg Seafood BC Ltd. (Grieg) has committed an additional $11 million annually in its continued commitment to reducing sea lice populations, while also reducing overall medication and chemical use.

Grieg has entered into a three-year contract with NjordMarine Service Ltd. for the service of the Coastal Server, a 24-metre all-purpose vessel which has also been fitted with a SkaMik 1.5 mechanical delousing system. The vessel and delousing system will be used by Grieg at its farms on both the east and west coasts of Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast for sea lice management.

The SkaMik 1.5 delousing system uses a combination of soft rotating brushes and low-pressure water nozzles to remove sea lice, without the use of chemicals or medication. Aside from critical delousing, the vessel will also be able to provide regular maintenance support.

“As an organization, we are committed to reducing the overall impact from our operations. Sea lice remains one of the biggest issues, and the new vessel and SkaMik 1.5 system are a welcome addition to our toolbox as not only does the system remove over 97 per cent of sea lice, in all lifecycle stages, it uses no medication or chemicals. It captures the removed lice for disposal on land – reducing the overall lice population in the region,” says Rocky Boschman, Managing Director for Grieg Seafood BC Ltd.

The new vessel and mechanical delousing system can be used at all Grieg farms, is self-contained and can travel easily between sites. The mechanical delousing system can be used on fish of all sizes, and is able to treat up to 150 metric tonnes of fish per hour under ideal conditions. The entire treatment time per fish, from the time they enter the intake, until they are returned to the farm, is about 1.5 seconds.

“The new mechanical delouser will be our first choice for sea lice treatment and will be a valuable addition to our fleet. The SkaMik 1.5 system uses ambient temperature ocean water and soft bristled brushes to loosen and remove lice, which are then filtered out of the treatment water for later disposal or composting on land. The process itself is incredibly quick – with each fish only spending about 1.5 seconds in the delousing system. This helps to reduce stress for the fish, and enables us to treat entire farms within a matter of days with an immediate reduction of lice in the region,” says Dean Trethewey, Seawater Production, Certifications and Regulatory Director.

“The vessel is currently clearing Canadian Customs and Transport Canada, and we hope to have vessel in use at our farms by January 2022 – just in time for the outmigration of juvenile wild salmon. This isn’t a coincidence, but by design, as we recognize the importance of maintaining low lice levels during this critical window.”

Below: The SkaMik 1.5 in use

Once the Coastal Server and SkaMik 1.5 are released, Grieg will begin to test and commission the vessel and mechanical delouser with plans to have the system in use at all of Grieg’s operations. Plans are underway to arrange for tours of the vessel, along with community celebrations later in 2022, when safe to do so within pandemic restrictions.

The Coastal Server is a NabWork 2411 vessel, and is 24 metres long, 11.4 metres wide, and is equipped with a 12-cylinder Caterpillar engine and two cranes. It has six single cabins for housing the crew, along with a galley and common area.

Grieg Seafood BC Ltd. is headquartered in Campbell River, BC, and employees approximately 180 fulltime employees, mainly located in the rural coastal communities in which it operates. Grieg holds 22 farm licences located on both the east and west coast of Vancouver Island, and operates a hatchery in Gold River, BC. It contracts its processing to a locally owned and operated processing facility north of Campbell River.