Plany Lumpfish Kelp provides a place for cleaner fish to hide and rest. The solution improves fish welfare and reduces delousing costs on salmon farms. “We create good living conditions for lumpfish in marine net-pens. When cleaner fish are healthy, they can mitigate the problem of sea lice,” says Gunhild Jørgensen Ramstad, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer at Plany.
Salmon producers fight a constant battle with sea lice, which cause USD 1 billion in damage each year. The industry uses a number of delousing methods, but sea lice continue to build resistance to traditional treatments. To slow infestation, many fish farmers have turned to cleaner fish.
“Cleaner fish are a non-toxic method of delousing. However, those species have different environmental needs from salmon, and 50 million cleaner fish die each year at Norwegian fish farms alone,” says Jørgensen Ramstad.
Plany Lumpfish Kelp simulates the natural habitat of lumpfish, a cleaner fish used for salmon delousing in marine net-pens. Lumpfish have a mutualistic relationship with salmon, where the lumpfish rid their hosts of sea lice while consuming the lice as a food source.
“Our solution creates an optimal environment for lumpfish. To thrive in net-pens, lumpfish depend on safe resting places where there is something to attach themselves to. It’s important that the kelp shelters have a thick and stable surface that is easy to attach to, especially in areas with strong currents,” Jørgensen Ramstad points out.
Plany Lumpfish Kelp comes in panels that are hung in the net-pens with ropes. Normally two panels are placed parallel to each other to form a delousing corridor, which the salmon swim through. Made of abrasion-resistant fabric, the kelp provides an especially thick surface for the lumpfish to rest on.
Plany Lumpfish Kelp is made from high-quality, food grade material. This eliminates the risk of contamination from toxic compounds and microplastics. The material can be recycled as well.
Moreover, the solution improves fish welfare for both the lumpfish and their hosts. “We check the kelp shelters every day and find many lumpfish resting there. They seem to be thriving in their environment,” says Fredrik Dahle Klocke, site manager at Bjørøya, a large salmon producer.
“The kelp helps us to reduce the number of delousing treatments. This prevents unnecessary stress or even death for the fish. It also saves the industry money,” he adds.
In addition, Plany Lumpfish Kelp is durable and easy to clean and maintain. The product’s long lifetime reduces waste and equipment costs.
The global aquaculture product market is projected to reach USD 53 billion by 2026, as the number of farmed species and seafood consumption increases. Jørgensen Ramstad believes that Plany Lumpfish Kelp has excellent market potential. “Our high Norwegian quality is what differentiates us,” she says.
“We are also environmentally conscious. As we grow globally, we plan to facilitate the production of our Lumpfish Kelp within each country where it is sold. In this way, we can support local economies and dramatically cut transport emissions as well as shipping costs,” she adds.
Plany Lumpfish Kelp is currently in use in Norway, and the company plans to expand into Canada and other aquaculture markets.
Artificial kelp for marine net-pens
Provides shelter for lumpfish
Facilitates sustainable use of cleaner fish in aquaculture