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The only hope is to develop new methods to control the spread of lice, which are present in the wild, but thrive in the tightly packed ocean pens for fish farming, said Shawn Robinson, a scientist with the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans.“There are not enough tools right now to allow the farmer to really effectively deal with it,” said Robinson.Contrary to popular belief, the sailors of Columbus's day did not think they would sail right off the edge of the Earth.They were, however, apprehensive about what they would find in their travels.The tiny lice attach themselves to salmon and feed on them, killing or rendering them unsuitable for dinner tables.
by Richard Ellis This excerpt of a map of Iceland by a Flemish cartographer shows sea monsters that some believed inhabited the surrounding waters.
Then, farmers in Canada identified the lice as a problem around 1994, said Jonathan Carr, executive director of research and environment with the Atlantic Salmon Federation.
Feeding fish a pesticide with the active ingredient of emamectin benzoate became the tool of choice to control lice, Carr said.
Scottish farmers have deployed a device known as a Thermolicer to warm the water and detach the lice from fish.
And farmers in North America and Europe are experimenting with using species of “cleaner fish” to coexist with the salmon and eat the lice.
That means higher consumer prices for everything from salmon fillets and steaks to more expensive lox on bagels.