The latest research indicates that not only are stressed fish more susceptible to sea lice attachment – they attract sea lice. When fish are exposed to acute stress, they produce elevated levels of cortisol and adrenaline. The cortisol acts like a beacon, providing sea lice with a signal that enables them to identify and target stressed fish.
There is only so much stress salmon can manage. An overabundance of stress from predation, husbandry, and even sea lice treatments can overwhelm salmon’s immune system. As increased levels of cortisol and adrenaline are released, salmon’s immune system is compromised, antibody production is slowed, and susceptibility to sea lice infestation, bacterial disease and various pathogens increase.
It’s critical to stop sea lice before they identify and attach themselves to fish, not after. GenusWave’s Sea Lice Defence Technology (SLDT) emits a unique sound that interferes with the ability of sea lice to recognize or target salmon to be its host and stimulates mucus production in salmon, which is salmon’s first line of defence against parasites and pathogens. Unlike current sea lice treatments that can strip salmon of their mucus layer, SLTD increases mucus production and helps salmon naturally defend against sea lice.
Because stress consumes a portion of the animal’s energy, stress over time can lead to compromised immune systems. In one study, Atlantic salmon were documented to have a 50% lower growth rate in weight than the control after 30 days of acute stress. The loss in growth may also result from poor and inconsistent feeding due directly to stress or disease.
As expected, the more often a fish is exposed to stressors, the greater the negative impact. Conversely, the reduction of environmental stress has been shown to increase growth rates for farmed salmon.
High levels of stress hormones (cortisol) released over time can impair the animal’s immune system, predisposing fish to bacterial disease. Because stress reduces antibody production, the body’s response to injury or infection is slowed, thereby increasing susceptibility to pathogens. Some fish farms have also reported a 4% – 5% increase in disease related mortality resulting from prolonged acute stress.
Additionally, stress has been shown to make salmon more susceptible to sea lice infestations. While antibiotics may be effective at lowering disease rates, the greater dependence on antibiotics leads to a range of negative consequences on both fish health and the environment.
By lowering acute stressors on salmon, research shows that feed is consumed and utilized more efficiently by fish because it is eaten, rather than falling to the seabed to waste. Farmers are projected to save between 10% – 12% of ongoing feed costs.
In one study, after just 17 days, food consumption based on dry weight was 5.4% per day in controls versus 2.1% per day in stressed fish – a 61% reduction in food intake by the stressed fish. After 37 days, food consumption was 6.2 and 4.6% per day in control and stressed fish, respectively, indicating a 37% reduction in food consumption.
GenusWave’s cutting-edge technology eliminates predation stress and mitigates sea lice infestation. Research has linked an increase in sea lice attachment to elevated levels of plasma cortisol, a hormone produced by fish in response to stress. By reducing stress, GenusWave’s technology provides the solution needed for salmon to successfully safeguard against sea lice.
GenusWave combines Sea Lice Defence Technology (SLDT) and Targeted Acoustic Startle Technology (TAST) to create a powerful integrated system that eliminates predation stress, helps prevent sea lice infestations, and improves fish health.
GenusWave explores a new approach to dealing with sea lice in a recent article published in Fish Farmer Magazine.