Research Fellow at the Institute of Aquaculture
Enhancing vaccines for Aeromonas salmonicida could represent a significant step forward in the use of ballan wrasse in aquaculture. We know that prevention is better than cure and we are, therefore, working towards the development of more effective vaccine formulations and protocols that can be used by hatcheries and producers to improve fish welfare.
“By testing a range of conditions and variables, we are also aiming to identify the optimal process for delivering vaccinations, which can then be implemented across the sector to enhance disease prevention among ballan wrasse populations.”
The project could have a positive impact on the health and welfare of significant numbers of ballan wrasse produced for use across the Scottish aquaculture sector, with improvements on their ability to treat sea lice also enhancing the wellbeing and growth of large stocks of Atlantic salmon on fish farms.
Heather Jones, CEO at SAIC, said: “Ballan wrasse are a core element of our sector-wide efforts to sustainably tackle the challenge of sea lice and vaccinating them against disease is essential for long-term success. This latest project adds to the range of valuable collaboration projects exploring best practice for cleaner fish, which is a growing focus for both fish farmer and academic partners. Through knowledge-sharing and innovation, we hope to ultimately support the increased use of more sustainable sea lice treatments that will benefit the entire sector.”
Dougie Hunter, technical director at Mowi, said: “Ballan wrasse alongside lumpfish are excellent cleaner fish and a natural solution to effectively manage sea lice on our salmon. For us to give these fish the best environment and welfare, we must protect them again stress and disease, including infection caused by Aeromonas salmonicida, which can be observed in wrasse from an early stage. At Mowi we are committed to ensuring the best fish welfare at all our facilities and for our new cleaner fish hatchery in Anglesey, and that includes proven disease prevention tools such as vaccines. Mowi’s collaboration with Scotland’s leading fish health and vaccine experts and SAIC will be vital in finding the best vaccination strategies to enhance wrasse health protection.”