In intensive aquaculture, farmed fish are exposed to severe stress from ongoing seal predation (nets don’t stop predation stress). Salmon’s immune system can handle most challenges, but long-term predation stress taxes a salmon’s energy reserves and overwhelms its defenses.
The salmon’s first line of defense against sea lice is its skin and mucus production, which form a natural protective barrier. But high levels of stress cause fish to produce cortisol and adrenaline, not mucus. With decreased mucus production and lower antibody levels, fish immune systems become weak and severely compromised.
Once compromised, the fish immune system can’t fight disease, bacteria, and pathogens. Left highly susceptible to sea lice infestations, sea lice actively identify stressed fish and attach to the fish with compromised immunity. Without proper mucus production to support immune system health, stressed fish in aquaculture environments can’t defend against sea lice.
Sea Lice Disruption Technology (SLDT) uses breakthrough sound technology to disrupt the host identification and host attachment processes and mitigate sea lice infestations.
The latest research demonstrates that Sea Lice are able to identify and attach to stressed fish with compromised immune systems. As stressed fish begin to produce cortisol and adrenaline (primary stress hormones) their immune system is compromised and they become targets for sea lice. GenusWave technology uses a multi-step approach to prevent sea lice infestation before they occur.
First, GenusWave acoustic startle technology conditions seals to avoid salmon farms, thereby reducing predation stress on the fish. This allows fish to reduce cortisol release, which in turns leads to strengthened immune system defenses.
Next, Sea Lice Disruption Technology utilizes specialized sound technology to stimulate mucus production and disrupt the host identification and attachment processes, which sea lice need to go through to complete their life cycle. Mucus production acts as the primary line of defense against sea lice, making it difficult for ectoparasites (sea lice) to attach to salmon. By maintaining fish health and stopping sea lice identification, GenusWave brings to market the first preventative solution to stop sea lice attachment and support fish health.
Unfortunately, current treatments for managing sea lice have a range of unintended consequences that may worsen salmon health. For example, the use of use peroxide treatments and thermolicers remove the salmon’s mucus, leaving salmon susceptible to infections and diseases – including recurring sea lice infestations. Antibiotics can be somewhat effective at lowering disease rates, but antibiotic use leads to a host of negative consequences to both fish and the environment.
Sea Lice attachment causes chemical changes in fish skin, resulting in skin damage and open wounds, secondary blood loss, electrolyte changes, and cortisol release. Subsequently, these infections decrease fish immune responses, making them susceptible to other diseases and reducing growth.
With over 20 years or research on ultrasound treatments on small pathogens, GenusWave’s Ultrasound Sea Lice Solution targets nauplius and copepodid stages of sea lice and utilizes vibration to kill zooplankton (like Lepeophteirus salmonis, Caligus rogercresseyi, and water fleas), E. coli bacteria, and Zebra Mussel veligers.
Unlike chemical treatments and well boats, GenusWave sends ultrasound wave throughout the surrounding sea water that are harmless to salmon but deadly to sea lice. The treatment includes acoustic cavitation – gas bubbles that violently collapse – which are highly effective on tiny aquatic organisms due to the presence of microscopic gas pockets, which absorb the ultrasound wave’s acoustic energy. When key structures and membranes in the sea lice absorb that that energy, they rupture, killing the sea lice.