The student group Artifish is Europe's best student company with its cleaner fish concept, which will provide a more adapted appetite for the lice eaters. Photo: Young Entrepreneurship.

Cleaner fish entrepreneurs named best in Europe

A student company that developed a concept to “train” cleaner fish so they would be more efficient lice eaters when transferred to salmon cages has won a contest to find the best student company in Europe.

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Artifish SB is run by students at the Ålesund campus of Norwegian technical university NTNU. It first won the Norwegian student company title and has now beaten rivals from other European countries.

Simen Sæther, general manager of Artifish SB, told Fish Farming Expert’s sister site that the students are now going to work on the idea and carry out another pilot project.

“We will now scientifically document the training effect on cleaner fish. We are still a student company but will establish an AS (Aksjeselskap or stock-based company) for the company this autumn,” he said. 

Lower the lice pressure

Sæther said that the victory had given the students more desire and motivation to continue, and they are therefore looking forward to bringing the concept into life.

“Increasing the training effect by 125% was something we managed to do in the first pilot project we carried out last autumn. So, this is quite possible. This will make the fish more valuable to the farmers, and it will drastically lower the lice pressure in the cage,” he claimed.

Sæther concluded that he and his colleagues have great faith that this is part of the solution to the lice problem, and hopes to stimulate growth in the aquaculture industry.