Chile approves in-feed sea lice treatment for salmon

Published on
November 16, 2016

A new in-feed treatment for the prevention and control of sea lice in salmon and trout has been approved by Chilean authorities, meaning that fish treated with the medication are now accepted for trade with many major export markets, including the United States, EU, Japan and Brazil.

Formulated by Greenfield, Indiana, U.S.A.-headquartered animal health company Elanco, the treatment is given in feed to fish in fresh water before they are transferred to the sea. Its application is based on studies that have shown it inhibits the formation of chitin in sea lice, which prevents the lice from developing into adults.

Chile is the first country to grant marketing authorization to the treatment.

“After years of dedicated research working with farmers and industry experts, Elanco is proud to bring this much-needed treatment to salmon farms in Chile, and is working hard to bring it to other markets around the world,” said Carlos Kuada, global head of aqua business at Elanco Animal Health. “Managing these parasites is a constant strain on salmon farmers – it is time consuming, cumbersome, and stressful to both fish and farmers. This option can help provide relief from sea lice management for an extended period of time, alleviating that stress.”

Sea lice are estimated to cost the global salmon industry more than USD 1 billion (EUR 934 million) per year.

Elanco highlighted that current treatments are often highly disruptive to salmon farms, as many require sea bath treatments. Additionally, the efficacy of some treatments is limited due to the emergence of drug resistance.

To date, no resistance in sea lice has been detected in Elanco’s treatment, the company said.

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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