Marine Harvest Canada (MHC) has announced the arrival of a state-of-the-art well boat that will provide environmentally friendly fish health treatments for its salmon farms in British Columbia, the company says. The 75 metre, $35 million ship is expected to arrive in Canada in late 2017.
“Simply put, this is a game changer for our business,” says Vincent Erenst, MHC’s managing director. “This vessel allows us to provide freshwater therapy regularly to all our salmon.”
A new aquaculture division that partners Marine Harvest and Deep Sea Supply will build the vessel. It will be the first boat built by the company’s new joint venture. With a water holding capacity of about 3,000 cubic metres, an onboard reverse osmosis system will turn saltwater into freshwater and fill the two large onboard fish tanks.
Marine Harvest says the ship demonstrates its commitment to continually reducing medicinal use at its salmon farming operations.
This latest advancement will provide contained freshwater baths to help improve gill health and fish quality by naturally removing and capturing external parasites found commonly in the ocean, according the company’s release.
The freshwater immersion of saltwater fish species can help cure a fish of unwanted marine microbes and parasites, such as sea lice, that cannot survive in low salinity, the company says.
“Freshwater baths are used in other aquaculture regions around the world to aid in fish health management,” says Dr. Diane Morrison (DVM).
“Our local trials have shown that the same method is extremely effective at removing sea lice and improving gill quality on our fish.”
Freshwater will be one of several treatment options that fish health professionals in B.C. can use in a successful integrated fish health management program. This fish health strategy also helps to meet standards set by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), a certification system that Marine Harvest Canada has committed to achieve at all regions by 2020.
The company was the first to achieve ASC salmon certification in North America in 2015.