Each fish farm must count sea lice on fish from every cage weekly and the numbers are reported to the authorities as an integral part of the sea lice management program. Each company obviously uses the numbers for their own internal sea lice management programs.

Cluster startup Aquabyte is one provider of camera-based technology for sea lice counting. Photo: Aquabyte

Counting sea lice manually can be a time-consuming task and one that often is rough on both fish and folk and good automatic solutions are in everybody’s interest.

Already back in 2018, there were several companies working on novel technology to automate the labor-intensive manual sea lice counting. The farmers were a bit at a loss as many companies wanted to introduce themselves and their new technology.  And since it was early days for most of the companies, the board of directors of NCE Seafood Innovation requested the cluster to map the field, the technology, and the readiness level of the companies. One was also keen to understand the bottlenecks, both technologically and legally, and gain insights into where the cluster might help.

The project outlined several common issues that we have tried to address, however, one that is probably the most important for suppliers and farmers alike is replacing manual counting with automatic counting. The key to achieving this is the validation of methods.

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority is the governmental agency that can validate methods and allow the transition to automatic counting as long as the technology in question meets the conditions set in the guidelines published earlier this year.

Upcoming workshop to resolve issues

Together with the fish farmers, NCE Seafood Innovation is planning a workshop on October 29, where we invite all relevant technology suppliers to join us and start the work to resolve these issues, to make it easier for the fish farmers to adopt new and important technology.

Want to participate in the workshop? Sign up here.