Sea Lice Management Decision Support System (RD126)


By enhancing the decision support system AquaDEEP, this projects aims to help farmers target effective sea lice treatment practices and minimise environmental impact while reducing treatment costs and production losses, ensuring seafood security for years to come through sustainable farming practices.

Funding Amount:


Duration of Project:

18 months

Project Summary:

Sea lice infestation is a major impediment to the growth of the Scottish Salmon industry, which contributes £1.8 billion to the Scottish economy annually. With plans to double this contribution to £3.6 billion by 2030, the industry is seeking to apply state-of-the-art solutions to address the issue of sea lice, which currently costs the industry ~£500 million per annum.

To help reduce commercial risks, while seeking to achieve SEPA’s beyond compliance vision of sustainability, Cefas and Scottish salmon farmers are supporting the development of evidence-based approaches to lice treatment and environmental management, using the latest decision support system (DSS) digital technologies. The integration of new technologies and models is needed to provide unprecedented optics to improve understanding of sea lice dispersion, infestation, the impact of chemical discharges and the benefits of targeted treatment methods.

BMT successfully delivered a Feasibility Study for AquaDEEP (FS065) a fully integrated DSS incorporating hydrodynamic, particle tracking, water quality and aquatic ecosystem software, as a tool to support sustainable aquaculture management. In partnership with Scottish Sea Farms, Marine Scotland Science, Aquatera and SEPA, the particle tracking module in AquaDEEP was enhanced to incorporate sea lice responses to environmental triggers as well as mortality from bath treatment. 

This follow-on R&D study will parameterise and integrate these models into an industry ready DSS, powered by AquaDEEP. BMT will work with farm operators, providing collaborative solutions to cumulative impacts, targeting effective lice treatment practices and minimising environmental impacts while reducing treatment costs and production losses, ensuring future seafood security through beyond best-practice farming.

For more on this project’s previous work, see here.

STATUS: Ongoing

Project Lead