Aquaculture nations must work to enhance the global knowledge pool
Norway’s seafood producers, resource management authorities and the population at large are reliant on the country’s own research community to take the lead in generating knowledge about critical aquaculture issues such as sea lice.
The latest issue of the HAVBRUK programme newsletter (no. 1/2012), which focuses on sea lice, was published prior to the HAVBRUK 2012 Conference in April.
Half a billion in funding for sea lice research
Research is a vital tool in the battle against sea lice. As of 2011, research and development activities for nearly NOK 500 million have been initiated for the ten-year period from 2009 to 2018.
The aquaculture industry has provided close to 60 per cent of the investment in R&D activities to combat sea lice for this period, with another 13 per cent coming from the Norwegian Seafood Research Fund (FHF). Public funding from the Research Council of Norway, Innovation Norway and the regional research funds comprises 30 per cent of the overall funding (see chart). The Research Council's total contribution is NOK 117 million, with a significant portion of this allocated to the newly established Sea Lice Research Centre (SLRC), which has been granted status as a Centre for Research-based Innovation (SFI).
The knowledge platform PrevenT (Salmon louse - prevention and treatment), co-funded by the Research Council and the FHF, is the second largest project, with a total budget of NOK 18 million over four years. Other research efforts range from studies on the development of resistance to delousing agents among sea lice to salmon's resistance to sea lice. Developing and optimising new treatment methods is also a key objective and is at the core of the Topilouse project (A multi-disciplinary effort to improve topical treatments in salmon louse control).
In 2011, the Research Council provided a total of NOK 16 million towards research on sea lice.
Norwegian researchers must generate knowledge
Normally, Norway can turn to the international community for help with knowledge for dealing with diseases in humans or animals. But when it comes to the salmon farming industry, there are no large research groups abroad to provide insight into how to combat problems such as sea lice.
“We must take responsibility for generating the aquaculture knowledge we need,” writes chair of the programme board Sigve Nordrum in the latest issue of the HAVBRUK programme newsletter (no. 1/2012). “Norwegian seafood producers, resource management authorities and the population at large will have to depend on the country’s own research community to lead the way in the production of essential knowledge.”
Norwegian researchers and industrial interests pointed out years ago – well before sea lice began grabbing media headlines – that efforts to contain the parasite would have to be intensified. The HAVBRUK programme, the FHF and private enterprise have been funding sea lice research since that time. Achieving progress has taken time and hard work, but now this research is yielding more and more knowledge about how to battle the costly pest.
The latest issue of the HAVBRUK newsletter presents a selection of projects that demonstrate the scientific breadth and scale of resources invested in the fight against sea lice.
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