Aquaculture farm on Scottish loch

Supporting the Scottish Seafood Industry with innovative solutions

Sea lice infestation is a major issue facing aquaculture in Scotland. Productivity loss due to lice infestations has a major impact on the industry, which contributes £1.8 billion annually to the Scottish economy. Traditional treatment methods are costly and can have a detrimental impact on the marine environment.

To help businesses reduce commercial risks associated with expansion plans, while seeking to reach the Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s (SEPA’s) beyond compliance vision of sustainability, novel marine modelling techniques are needed to improve understanding of sea lice dispersion, infestation, the impact of chemical discharges on the marine ecosystem and benefits of targeted treatment methods.

The UK Seafood Innovation Fund supports bold and ambitious tech-driven projects that will enable a step-change in the productivity and sustainability of the UK seafood sector.

Administered by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the fund supports projects with a long-term vision to improve the UK seafood, fishing and aquaculture industries, and has recognised our innovative solutions and contribution to these industries.

Our AquaDEEP software, a fully integrated decision support system, powered by TUFLOW FV, incorporating hydrodynamic, particle tracking, water quality and aquatic ecosystem software helps farmers make informed decisions on site selection and operational management practices. It incorporates novel advancements in modelling bioactive sea lice dispersion, infestation and response to bath treatment in a coupled hydrodynamic and ecosystem software and will support industry operators and environmental regulators with optimising aquaculture production and minimising ecosystem impacts.

Together with our partners we will be enhancing the particle tracking module in AquaDEEP to incorporate sea lice maturation and motility response to environmental triggers as well as mortality from bath treatment. This tool will be used to target effective lice treatment practices and minimise environmental impact while reducing treatment costs and production losses, ensuring seafood security for years to come through sustainable farming practices.

Matthew Roberts, Managing Director, BMT Environment UK commented:

“We are very excited to be part of this programme and recognised as one of the Seafood Innovators in the UK. Supported by Scottish Sea Farms, Marine Scotland Science, Aquatera and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), we will deliver a feasibility study using innovative approaches, and use our proprietary software AquaDEEP to model biologically active sea lice dispersion, infection risk to farmed fish as well as sea lice response to bath treatment and its environmental impacts.”

We have over 20 years of experience working with regulators and an expert understanding of regulatory requirements relevant to aquaculture.  We are presently the go-to consultancy for the Western Australian Department of Fisheries. Our knowledge of the environmental pressures and key cause-effect pathways relevant to aquaculture is extensive, as is our experience of best practice aquaculture environmental impact assessment (EIA) and operational management.