CleanTreat is designed for use with the company’s farmed salmon sea lice treatment Ectosan Vet, which received full regulatory approval in Norway last month and is the first new lice treatment in more than a decade.
CleanTreat removes medicines from treatment water before returning cleaned water to the sea. It also removes the organic material from treatment water including sea lice, egg strings, fish scales and faecal matter - an essential step in combating parasitic resistance to medicines.
A decade of development
In a press release, UK-headquartered Benchmark said the CleanTreat vessel, which arrived in Norway on Saturday, is the culmination of over a decade of innovation, research and extensive trials. After winning the Nor-Fishing Innovation Award in 2019, the CleanTreat system has been further developed and refined. The vessel arrives with a full maritime crew, plus eight fully trained Benchmark technicians and specialist chemists, highly qualified to operate the system.
Benchmark intends to have two CleanTreat vessels operating in Norway during this season, with the ability to add additional capacity to meet customer demand.
The company’s chief executive, Trond Williksen, said: “As an innovative aquaculture biotechnology company, we are truly excited to bring this much-needed solution to the vital salmon industry in Norway.
“It will drive sustainability and increased yields through improved animal welfare, while also protecting the environment. I want to thank my teams who have been working tirelessly to bring this innovative and essential product to market.”
Neil Robertson, head of operations for Benchmark Animal Health, said: “Today marks a major milestone in Benchmark’s journey to support a more sustainable aquaculture industry and create a future where no chemicals are applied directly to the sea. I am proud to finally see the CleanTreat system now ready for commercial use, following over a decade of research, development and trials. We look forward to working with our customers and partners in the deployment of this innovative new solution in Norway in the coming weeks.”
The active ingredient of Ectosan Vet is imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid insecticide. The use of imidacloprid and some other neonicotinoids on agricultural crops has been banned by the European Union because of evidence that they may harm bees, although several EU countries have been granted exemptions to continue using the chemicals for specific crops.
Earlier this year the European Parliament voted by a two-thirds majority to reduce the finfish maximum residue limit for imidacloprid to zero, which would effectively ban its use, but the European Commission has not yet acted upon the vote.