The farm tech scoops feed pellets and flicks them over the water, getting the attention of thousands of Atlantic salmon beneath the surface.
After a few moments, tech Jeanine Sumner and Paul McManus, the assistant manager at Marine Harvest’s Sonora Point fish farm, draw the net closed, trapping a sample of salmon for a sea lice check. Over the next half-hour, they select 20 salmon at random with a dip net, drop them in a container of water laced with a mild anesthetic and examine them for sea lice. They’re looking for one particular kind of louse – the lepeophtheirus salmonis or “leps” – which can harm salmon by eating through their scales, making them more susceptible to infection. They find seven on all the salmon, and a couple more in the container when they’re finished.