Aqua Pharma purchases stake in Pulcea for new sea lice treatment

Published on
May 25, 2020

Aqua Pharma, a company specializing in the treatment of parasites in aquaculture, has purchased a 50 percent stake in Edinburgh, Scotland-based company Pulcea as part of a deal to speed the development of a new sea lice treatment.

Pulcea has pioneered a new sea lice treatment approach that uses sound energy to improve the efficiency of sea lice treatments. The new partnership with Aqua Pharma will allow the company to “accelerate the delivery” of the new method, from the testing phase through to commercialization.

The deal involves Aqua Pharma purchasing 50 percent of the company, with Puclea’s Managing Director Ian Armstrong and Technical Director Ian Jamieson jointly owning the other 50 percent.

“The Pulcea team welcomes the investment of Aqua Pharma to develop our technology during these challenging times when ongoing innovation is so important to the international salmon farming community,” Armstrong said in a release.

The new method uses acoustic power in tandem with another existing method – bathing the salmon in hydrogen peroxide. The method, according to Pulcea, causes the oxygen bubbles formed the bath – which attach to the sea lice – to oscillate, damaging the lice more.

“Sea lice can be a challenge when growing salmon and many different treatment methods are currently in use or under evaluation,” Armstrong said. “A system such as ours, which combines efficiency with a focus on the wellbeing of the fish and the environment, will be a vital addition to the armoury of treatments and enhance the sustainability of the industry. Our target markets include those early spring treatments undertaken prior to the wild salmon smolt migration, along with the intensive autumn season.”

The new method’s implementation has been slightly hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic, but Armstrong said he is confident that it will soon be adopted by salmon farmers.

“Traditionally, the Norwegian industry are great implementers of good ideas, and this investment from Aqua Pharma will take our sea lice technology from the current testing phase through to widespread commercialisation as rapidly as COVID-19 restrictions permit,” he said.

For Aqua Pharma the investment – which Pulcea described as a “six-figure deal,” is a natural fit for the company.

“For Aqua Pharma this investment into Pulcea fits perfectly within our mission to contribute to responsible, sustainable, aquaculture by innovating and developing effective, minimum impact and gentle treatments for the fish under our customers’ care and we are very excited to be involved in bringing it to the market,” Aqua Pharma CEO Elvin Bugge said. 

Photo courtesy of Pulcea

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