Norway salmon farmers’ lice woes boosting local economies


The issues with sea lice being experienced by Norway’s salmon farmers is having a “ripple effect” in boosting economies in regions such as Rogaland and Hordaland, the west of the country.

According to a report from Nofima, the research institute, aquaculture in Rogaland and Hordaland purchased goods and services for approximately NOK 9.45 billion ($1.08bn) in 2013, with 90% of this used in western Norway, according to an analysis of ripple effects carried out by the food research institute Nofima.

The scientists surveyed the extent of activity in the aquaculture industry in the two counties in western Norway, and investigated the effects of the industry. An important part of its impact is the activity that is created when the aquaculture industry purchases goods and services.

“In the past 10 to 15 years we have seen a development in the aquaculture industry in which subcontractors take over an increasing number of tasks. This has led to growth among suppliers. Service companies have appeared along the whole coastline, but this type of service is delivered to a very large degree by local suppliers,” said Nofima senior scientist, Roy Robertsen.

Purchases in Rogaland and Hordaland constitute approximately NOK 3.4 million per employee in the aquaculture industry.

“An important reason for the growth in recent years has been the increase in problems with salmon lice, and an increased need to take on personnel and equipment to aid with delousing,” said Audun Iversen, a scientist with Nofima.

“Most companies today use subcontracted boats and personnel in addition to their own employees during delousing. Other types of task that are subcontracted out are net cleaning, mooring, the moving of facilities, exchange of nets, etc,” said Iversen.

Another consequence of the problems with lice is that the aquaculture companies are investing to a greater degree in prevention. This involves the purchase of wrasse, lumpfish and shielding skirts.

“Suppliers are behind much of the innovation in an industry that has had an explosive technological development. We are seeing larger units and more automation. A great deal of research is being carried out also on feed, breeding, vaccines and medicines. Equipment is being developed to monitor and feed the fish, and much work is being done on improving equipment to give not only a more efficient working day, but also a safer one,” said Iversen.

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