Flatsetsund Engineering sales and marketing manager Helge Stenbæk, left, with managing director Kristian Lillerud. Photo: Linn Therese Skår Hosteland

New delouser enters Scottish market

Scotland's fish farmers are being offered another option for mechanically delousing salmon following the decision of a Norwegian company to sell its product abroad.

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Flatsetsund Engineering is now producing its 14th generation of the mechanical delousing system ‘FLS Avluser', and chief executive Kristian Lillerud is so pleased with the results that he is looking to expand beyond Norway to Scotland, Canada and Chile.

"The road to getting where we are today has been bumpy, with loads of trials and correcting errors,” said Lillerud.

"We always had faith in the concept and are now in the 14th generation of the system. Now we’ve got it.”

This is the prototype of the new lice filters currently installed on the machines.

He said fish welfare has been analysed on several occasions after delousing, and that the stress response in the fish is not measurable, and they take feed immediately after treatment.

Very low mortality

“We have the world's best system. Several users in the industry have documented and proven that the fish have very low mortality, good appetite and generally good welfare during and after treatment. I do not say this to brag, it's the truth,” added Lillerud.

One delousing line can treat 20-50 tonnes of salmon per hour, depending on how big the fish are.

"Documentation shows that the system removes 95 per cent of mobile lice, 95 per cent adult lice and 50 to 70 per cent of sessile lice while maintaining good welfare," said Lillerud.

"What makes the concept unique is that we use sea water that has the same temperature as the water outside, so the fish will not get an environmental shock."

In dialogue with farmers

So far the company has installed over 20 delousing lines on seven vessels based in Norway. It is now looking to expand into Scotland, Chile and Canada and, according to Lillerud, is in dialogue with several of the local farmers.

Previously, Flatsetsund Engineering tested a prototype delouser for its live fish carrier system in Scotland and the Faroe Islands.

"We did this several years ago, when the concept was quite premature, without very good results," said Lillerud. “But we are now ready to re-enter these areas.”

Read more about the FLS Avluser in next month's edition of Fish Farming Expert magazine.