Salmon get new spa

Marine Harvest's farmed salmon to get regular spa treatments from new 75 metre ship.

Marine Harvest’s farmed salmon will soon be getting regular spa treatments.

Marine Harvest has announced the arrival of a state-of-the-art well boat that will provide environmentally-friendly fish health treatments for its salmon farms in British Columbia.

The 75 metre ship, valued at $35 million, is expected to arrive in Canada in late 2017.

“Simply put, this is a game changer for our business,”says Vincent Erenst, MHCs managing director. “This vessel allows us to provide freshwater therapy regularly to all our salmon.”

According to MHC Communications Officer Ian Roberts, the bath water will be filtered and then released. “The freshwater simply mixes with saltwater when you release it – similar to a river entering the ocean,” Roberts said.

“The sea lice is caught in the filtration process, collected, and sent to composters,” said Roberts.

A new aquaculture division that partners Marine Harvest and Deep Sea Supply will build the vessel. It will be the first boat built by the company’s new joint venture.

With a water holding capacity of about 3,000 cubic metres, an onboard reverse osmosis system will turn saltwater into freshwater.

The new boat is part of Marine Harvest’s commitment to continually reduce medicinal use at its salmon farming operations.

The freshwater immersion of saltwater fish species can help cure a fish of unwanted marine microbes and parasites, such as sea lice, that cannot survive in low salinity.

“Freshwater baths are used in other aquaculture regions around the world to aid in fish health management,” says Dr. Diane Morrison (DVM).

“Our local trials have shown that the same method is extremely effective at removing sea lice and improving gill quality on our fish.”

Freshwater will be one of several treatment options that fish health professionals in B.C. can use in an integrated fish health management program.

It will also help them meet standards set by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), a certification system that Marine Harvest has committed to achieve at all regions by 2020. The company was the first to achieve ASC salmon certification in North America in 2015.