By Dr. Diane Morrison, DVM, Fish Health and Food Safety Director
What does Leading the Blue Revolution mean to me? It means that in all areas of our operations we will be looking for and implementing best practices.
Does that statement seem a little bland? Perhaps to some, but it depends on how you look at it. It’s easy to get distracted and focused on things that are new and shiny, but as with all things in life, just because something is new doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s better. Questioning and then evaluating our practices and results on a continuous basis will make us better. Refusing to accept the status quo will drive us to even greater successes. This attitude will not only improve our results, it will make our work more enjoyable and challenging.
In the area of fish health, I have tried to ensure that we are ‘on the cutting edge’. I take best practices from the other agri-industries (poultry, swine, beef, and dairy) and apply them to our operations. For example:
- Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices are well established in other agri-industries. Marine Harvest Canada was the first to track and report on sea lice treatment efficacy, to incorporate emamectin benzoate (active ingredient in SLICE) bioassay testing, and to work with DFO to access an alternative sea lice treatment. While our current management of sea lice – a naturally occurring marine parasite – is successful, sourcing alternative treatments is an important
part of IPM. We are pleased that a permit has been granted for use of a new treatment for BC – Paramove® 50 (hydrogen peroxide) – which will begin in early 2014.
- We continue to look for non-medicinal sea lice controls. You might not have heard that we are actively looking for the Pacific lumpsucker. The Atlantic species of this fish is currently being used successfully to control sea lice infestations and reduce treatment requirements in Norway. We will work with DFO and other researchers to document how effectively the Pacific lumpsucker removes sea lice from Atlantic salmon.
- Our Freshwater team’s family broodstock program will use genetic selection to drive production improvements. For example, this spring we will use a small group of fish from this program to investigate if some families are ‘resistant’ to Kudoa infection.
- Biological data analysis in salmon farming has not reached the same level as other agri-industries where it has resulted in significant improvements. Over the years we have improved how we capture and use our production data, but the big discoveries will come when we data-mine multiple years of results.
- Improving our understanding of how ‘stress’ affects our salmon performance is another area which requires additional focus. The other agri-industries have been able to document how handling or housing can affect productivity. In salmon farming the techniques and tests to do similar comparisons don’t currently exist. We’ll continue to discuss this with our production department, and researchers, to ensure we drive this development.
Leading the Blue Revolution means driving initiatives which ensure we are the best that we can be in everything we do.
To read past articles about the Blue Revolution visit:
Part 1: A personal view. By Vincent Erenst: http://www.marineharvestcanada.com/blog/2013/09/10/leading-the-blue-revolution-a-personal-view/
Part 2: Adapt. Innovate. Overcome. By James Gaskill: http://www.marineharvestcanada.com/blog/2013/09/10/leading-the-blue-revolution-part-2-adapt-innovate-overcome/
Part 3: Improving public awareness about Marine Harvest salmon. By Clare Backman: http://www.marineharvestcanada.com/blog/2013/10/15/leading-the-blue-revolution-part-3-improving-public-awareness-about-marine-harvest-salmon/
Part 4: How to Lead a Revolution. By Dean Dobrinsky: http://www.marineharvestcanada.com/blog/2013/11/08/leading-the-blue-revolution-part-4-how-to-lead-a-revolution/