International call for research projects to explore new possibilities to achieve an Atlantic salmon with salmon lice resistance
FHF announce grant funding with the objective to elaborate and document the potential for utilising genetic traits and mechanisms of lice resistance in Pacific salmon as tools to achieve an Atlantic salmon with high or full salmon lice resistance
The total budget for the call is limited to NOK 40 million. More than one project may be considered for funding.
Background and issues
The salmon louse (Lepeophtheirus salmonis) is currently the most challenging issue for the salmon aquaculture industry in the North Atlantic Region, not only as potential disease and fish welfare issues, but also as a parasite infesting wild stocks of salmonids. The industry is utilising a wide range of countermeasures in order to prevent and control lice infestations. These measures include shielding of net pens with skirts or utilising semi closed containment systems to prevent lice copepodites from finding the salmon, cleanerfish eating the lice, laser technology, application of pharmaceuticals through bath immersion treatments or oral administration, and different mechanical delousing technologies. Research projects for developing lice vaccines is ongoing, but so far with limited success.
From Pacific salmon it is well known that both coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) and pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) are resistant against salmon lice (Lepeophtheirus salmonis). This resistance is expressed as a response from the salmon to prevent successful attachment and/or development of salmon lice, and not as a tolerance for high infestation levels of lice.
The aquaculture industry has expressed interests in understanding the resistance traits of Pacific salmon. Together with new methodological, scientific opportunities for genetic engineering, e.g. CRISPR/CAS9 gene editing without transferring genes or gene elements, such understanding of the resistance traits can support exploring the potential for achieve an Atlantic salmon with increased or complete resistance against salmon lice. This will also imply a requirement for knowledge on the potential adaptations by the salmon lice to attach and develop also on «resistant» Atlantic salmon.
Elaborate and document the potential for utilising genetic traits and mechanisms of salmon lice resistance in Pacific salmon as tools to achieve an Atlantic salmon with high or full salmon lice (Lepeophtheirus salmonis) resistance.
- Identify and document genetic traits and mechanisms responsible for the difference in salmon lice resistance in Atlantic salmon vs Pacific salmonid (coho and/or pink salmon)
- Elaborate and document the potential for utilising the identified genetic traits and mechanisms of salmon lice resistance as tools to achieve an Atlantic salmon with high or full salmon lice resistance.
- Conduct a risk evaluation on the possibilities for, and consequences of salmon lice adapting to Atlantic salmon with salmon lice resistance.