Wrasse performance beyond expectations
Mowi’s production of ballan wrasse that aid in natural sea lice control has exceeded expectations.
Wrasse and lumpfish – also referred to collectively as “cleaner fish” – are effective “pickers” that help keep larger fish like salmon clean of tiny external parasites.
Mowi Scotland’s cleaner fish are raised in recirculating aquaculture facilities across the UK and biological results and speed of innovation has surpassed previous forecasts.
Dougie Hunter, Technical Director & Managing Director, Ocean Matters, comments further on what has led to better-than-expected results: “The biological performance of the wrasse under our care and the speed at which our site teams have adapted growing conditions that best cater to the fish’s needs have been key factors to the success of our wrasse programme.
“Since scaling up production from R&D levels, we’ve quickly evolved our practices that strive to provide what is best for the fish. This has included refining the live feed methodologies and how we wean fish onto dry diets. Allowing the fish to express natural behaviours by creating a growing environment that best mimics its natural environment is also key.”
Mowi delivered its first batch of wrasse to the company’s sea farms in August 2021 and has now delivered over 200,000 wrasse to date.
With capacity to raise up to over a million wrasse and three million lumpfish, Mowi Scotland is now in a position to supply its internal needs and expand its external sales.
“Our team has been working very hard for several years at making our cleaner fish programme successful, and I’m really pleased for our hardworking site teams to see results match the effort,” adds Dougie.
Further research into nutritional and environmental factors that may affect growth and performance of ballan wrasse continues. Announced last year, the research team includes experts from the Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC), Otter Ferry Seafish, BioMar, Scottish Sea Farms and Mowi.