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New mechanical sea lice treatment due within months

Variety pack: Ace Aquatec's containerised sea lice system has different ways of removing the parasite. Photo: Ace Aquatec website.
Variety pack: Ace Aquatec's containerised sea lice system has different ways of removing the parasite. Photo: Ace Aquatec website.

Aquaculture technology innovator Ace Aquatec is to introduce a new sea lice removal system to the market in the first quarter of next year.

The modular, mechanical system is focused on causing minimal stress to fish and optimal lice removal.

It will be offered to salmon farmers worldwide, with the initial focus on Scotland and Norway, where Dundee-based Ace Aquatec has now established a Norwegian division at Marineholmen in Bergen.

An illustration of the combination delousing system fitted into two containers. Click on image to enlarge. Graphic: Ace Aquatec website.
An illustration of the combination delousing system fitted into two containers. Click on image to enlarge. Graphic: Ace Aquatec website.

Electric fields

Ace Aquatec has used its experience developing its award-winning in-water stunning systems to develop its lice solution. The system combines low voltage electric fields, water jets, and a minimal thermal treatment at the final stage de-waterer. 

Each of the treatments has its own ability to remove sea lice, something which allows the treatments to be used in different combinations to avoid lice developing resistance over time.

The system catches all lice and eggs down to 50 microns in a filter and returns the cleaned water to the ocean. Tests are ongoing through into next year with Ace Aquatec’s partner.

Easy to retrofit

The system has been in development since 2017 when Ace Aquatec and a partner, which Fish Farming Expert understands to be a Scottish salmon farmer, were awarded a European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) grant to develop a mechanical sea lice removal system as part of the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) consortium application supporting novel solutions to sea lice control.

The relatively small, containerised design of Ace Aquatec’s system makes it easy to retrofit on existing work boats, and potentially gives farmers or contractors the option to deploy several of its modules on smaller vessels for a faster local response than relying on a larger treatment vessel that serves a whole region.

This might prove appealing to fish farmers during periods of peak lice prevalence. Although there are around a dozen mechanical delousers operating in Scotland, there are more than 200 fish farms.

Preben Imset Matre:
Preben Imset Matre: "It’s exciting to be part of the introduction of these solutions." Photo: Ace Aquatec.

Strong demand

Ace Aquatec’s recently appointed Norway regional manager, Preben Imset Matre, said the sea lice removal system would be introduced to the Norwegian market in the first quarter of 2021, adding to a product portfolio attracting interest in the region.

“We are seeing strong demand in this region for our electric in-water stunning devices that improve animal welfare at slaughter and our biomass camera system which will launch in 2021,” said Matre, who was previously head of Norway operations at aquaculture technology supplier Aquabyte.

“It’s exciting to be part of the introduction of these solutions.”

A logical step

Speaking about the company’s decision to open an office in Norway, Ace Aquatec chief executive Nathan Pyne-Carter said it was a logical step in the firm’s business growth strategy.

“Norway is home to some of the largest and most sophisticated farmed salmon producers in the world, as well as the best competence centres for research and development work, so it’s critical that we meet clients where they live to service them most effectively,” said Pyne-Carter.

“Ace Aquatec will be present at HavExpo; the international exhibition for Norwegian aquaculture and fisheries, which will take place in Bergen, Norway, from 23-24 March 2021, at stand A-354 and we’re looking forward to showcasing all our solutions including our new biomass measurement system that uses real 3D data to improve accuracy.”

Expansion to Chile

Earlier this year, Ace Aquatec announced the opening of its first office in Chile as part of its business growth strategy and received backing from Dutch Aquaculture specialist investor Aqua-Spark and Scottish technology entrepreneurs Chris van der Kuyl and Paddy Burns.

Van der Kuyl and Burns are co-founders of 4J Studios, a leading independent computer games development studio responsible for the hugely successful Minecraft Console Editions.