Through continued research and innovation, pooling of knowledge and resources, and ongoing cooperation, we feel we can make a significant impact on ensuring we're using the most effective management strategies to support optimum fish health performance. There are two main challenges to fish health and disease management–sea lice control and reducing the use of antibiotics. As members of the GSI we have committed to working collaboratively to find new approaches to improve management of these challenges.
Our main objective is to produce healthy fish in healthy waters, which is why biosecurity, or disease management, is a priority topic for the global farmed salmon industry. As farmers of the sea, we share our waters, which is why we believe it makes sense for us to cooperate and work together on biosecurity management.

GSI fish welfare working group

To improve fish health and welfare, GSI unites an expert working group, who share knowledge, identify best-practices and trial new management approaches. Priority work areas include: sea lice management, reducing antibiotics, gill health and the impact of a changing climate.

Improving sea lice management

What are sea lice?

Sea lice are a naturally occurring parasite found throughout the world’s oceans and on many species of fish. They can have a detrimental effect on the health and welfare of fish, and can reduce productivity of the farm, which is why it is our goal to effectively manage their existence and reduce their occurrence.

There are two forms of sea lice of concern to the salmon farming industry: Lepeophtheirus salmonis, a salmon-specific sea lice that affects farms in Norway, the UK, and Canada; and Caligus rogercresseyi, which affects farms in Chile.

Within our global expert fish health and welfare working group, we hold regular technical workshops, sharing experiences on what’s working and what’s not so members can learn from one another.

When it comes to improving management of sea lice, the working group considers:

  • Continually evolving best practices
  • Improving efficacy of medicinal treatments
  • Research & development
  • Developing holistic non-medicinal approaches.

Reducing use of antibiotics

The farmed salmon industry has made considerable progress in reducing its use of antibiotics over the past two decades, mainly through developing efficient vaccines and improved practices. As a global protein source, farmed salmon uses the least antibiotics of all animal proteins. However, we believe that a continued reduction in their use is hugely important, and are committed to ensuring the highest levels of fish health through a holistic approach to sustainable salmon farming.

Similar to humans, there are a number of diseases that can affect the health of salmon, and in some cases where there are no vaccines or preventative treatments available, these diseases need to be treated through the use of antibiotics to return the salmon to normal health.

Within the GSI we have made it one of our top priorities to find new and innovative ways to reduce the use of antibiotics as soon as possible. Our approaches include:

  • Ongoing research and best-practice sharing between GSI members, pharmaceutical/feed Associate Members, and government bodies to promote faster uptake of new holistic approaches to disease management
  • A variety of joint projects and trials between the GSI members and other organizations looking to identify new and effective approaches to minimizing antibiotic use
  • Support of pharmaceutical R&D to accelerate development of new vaccines – demonstrated through the Statement of Intent the GSI issued in March 2017, outlining a commitment to supporting industry R&D
  • Commitment of members to transparently report their antibiotic use annually as part of the GSI Sustainability Report – allowing for accurate baselines and the monitoring of use over time

Antibiotics are only used when absolutely necessary and are used in accordance with local regulations and food safety requirements.

Additional Projects

Working in the environment we do, we recognize that there will always be new challenges or issues which we’ll need to prepare for and manage. Through the GSI we feel confident that we can more effectively find solutions that will have a greater impact on a wider scale than if we worked independently.

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