LWP co-authors new science publication supporting fish health and biosecurity in salmon aquaculture

Potential risks to fish health resulting from between-farm dispersal of biofouling material

LWP’s Oli Floerl, in collaboration with colleagues from SINTEF Ocean (Norway), undertook an extensive field, laboratory, and modelling study to examine the transport of biofouling material released during pen net cleaning in fish farms. The study quantified the biomass, size frequency distribution, and sinking rates of biofouling organisms and fragments released during pen net cleaning in Norwegian salmon farms. A 3D hydrodynamic model was used to simulate the dispersal of millions of particles released during net cleaning at commercial fish farms. The results demonstrate that net cleaning waste is extensively dispersed throughout neighbouring pens, and even to adjacent aquaculture facilities at several km distance. The ‘connectivity’ between farms (or pens within farms) created by cleaning waste has potential implications for fish health and biosecurity in Aotearoa New Zealand.

A PDF version of the study, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, can be accessed here.

For queries regarding this study, please contact Oli Floerl (oli@lwp.nz ).