New deal brings innovative sea lice treatment closer to market

Published: 14 May 2020

The development of an innovative new treatment method to control lice in farmed salmon has moved a step closer with the merging of interests between two proven experts in the field.

Pulcea, developers of a pioneering approach which uses sound energy to improve the efficiency of existing sea lice treatments, have joined forces with Aqua Pharma to accelerate the delivery of this new technology, from testing through to commercialisation.

Under the six-figure deal, international aquaculture pharmaceutical experts Aqua Pharma have bought a 50% stake in Pulcea, with the remaining 50% jointly owned by Pulcea managing director Ian Armstrong and technical director Ian Jamieson.

Sea lice can be a persistent challenge in the aquaculture industry, with losses caused by lice infestations estimated at up to EUR 549 million each year.

Current treatment methods include bathing the salmon in hydrogen peroxide, which breaks down into water and oxygen after treatment. Using acoustic power in conjunction with hydrogen peroxide during treatment causes the oxygen bubbles that attach to the sea lice from the breakdown of the hydrogen peroxide to oscillate, causing more damage to the lice whilst being less stressful for the fish.

“The Pulcea team welcomes the investment of Aqua Pharma to develop our technology during these challenging times when ongoing innovation is so important to the international salmon farming community.

“Sea lice can be a challenge when growing salmon and many different treatment methods are currently in use or under evaluation. A system such as ours, which combines efficiency with a focus on the wellbeing of the fish and the environment, will be a vital addition to the armoury of treatments and enhance the sustainability of the industry. Our target markets include those early Spring treatments undertaken prior to the wild salmon smolt migration, along with the intensive Autumn season.

“Traditionally, the Norwegian industry are great implementers of good ideas, and this investment from Aqua Pharma will take our sea-lice technology from the current testing phase through to widespread commercialisation as rapidly as Covid-19 restrictions permit.”

Ian Armstrong, Pulcea managing director 

“For Aqua Pharma this investment into Pulcea fits perfectly within our mission to contribute to responsible, sustainable, aquaculture by innovating and developing effective, minimum impact and gentle treatments for the fish under our customers’ care and we are very excited to be involved in bringing it to the market.”

Elvin Bugge, Aqua Pharma CEO

Pulcea are based at the Stirling University Innovation Park and the Roslin Innovation Centre near Edinburgh. In 2018 Innovate UK provided a three year support package which has funded Pulcea’s veterinary project manager, Dr Rachel Brown MRCVS. By the end of the funding period in 2021 the objective is to have introduced the innovative new treatment throughout the international salmon farming industry.

For further information please contact:

Jenny MacPherson
JMC Communications

t: +44 7900 917143 or +44 1463 231088



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