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New scientific research identifies SRS-causing bacteria

Oyvind Brevik, fish health researcher at Cermaq, Bergen. Photo: Cermaq
Oyvind Brevik, fish health researcher at Cermaq, Bergen. Photo: Cermaq

A new method to pinpoint new pathogenic intracellular bacterial species in aquaculture has been developed. 


The proposed method can trace the transmission of bacteria and track how it affects farmed fish. 

Oyvind Brevik is a researcher who is on the Cermaq fish health team in Bergen.

Brevik and his colleagues have been focusing on identifying intracellular bacteria that create health challenges including mortality in fish and other farmed aquaculture.


Brevik’s doctorate thesis explains how Piscirickettsia salmonis is the bacteria responsible for causing Salmon Rickettsial Septicemia(SRS) in fish, a disease that is typically fought by using antibiotics.

“Intracellular bacteria cause several diseases that cause major problems in aquaculture worldwide. It has been shown that the development of disease-reducing measures, such as vaccines, are very challenging for these bacteria”, said Brevik in a press release.

“In my PhD thesis, I have adapted methods for gene sequencing technologies for intracellular bacteria. Through this we have shown that SRS outbreaks in Chile are due to several isolates belonging to two different genotypes.”

Research is central

The information in Brevik’s thesis will be used to develop vaccines and new testing practices including creating new parameters for disease management at aquaculture farms.

“Research is central to Cermaq. We focus heavily on our own research activities and, not least, to take our own and others' research results quickly into use in our global businesses,” said Olai Einen, head of Cermaq's global research team.

“This autumn, three of the five researchers in our research group in Bergen will defend their PhD. I'm incredibly proud of that. Both the research and the researchers are important to Cermaq and to the industry.”

Cermaq is one of the world's leading companies that farm salmon and trout, with operations in Norway, Chile and Canada. Cermaq is a fully-owned subsidiary of the Mitsubishi Corporation.