BMT supporting Scottish aquaculture BMT aims to examine new approaches to coping with aquaculture’s sea lice challenges. Photo: BMT

BMT has been awarded a project by the UK Seafood Innovation Fund to address current pressing issues facing aquaculture in Scotland.

Administered by Cefas on behalf of Defra, the UK Seafood Innovation Fund supports bold and ambitious tech-driven projects designed to enable a step-change in the productivity and sustainability of the UK seafood sector, and has recognised BMT’s innovative solutions and contribution to these industries.

“We are very excited to be part of this programme and recognised as one of the Seafood Innovators in the UK,” said BMT Environment UK’s managing director Matthew Roberts.

“Supported by Scottish Sea Farms, Marine Scotland Science, Aquatera and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), BMT will deliver a feasibility study using innovative approaches, and use our proprietary software AquaDEEP to model biologically active sea lice dispersion, infection risk to farmed fish, sea lice response to bath treatment and its environmental impacts.”

Sea lice infestation is a major issue facing aquaculture in Scotland, resulting in productivity losses to the industry, which contributes £1.8 billion annually to the Scottish economy. Traditional treatment methods are costly and can have a detrimental impact on the marine environment.

To help businesses reduce commercial risks associated with expansion plans, while seeking to reach SEPA’s beyond compliance vision of sustainability, novel marine modelling techniques are needed to improve understanding of sea lice dispersion, infestation, the impact of chemical discharges on the marine ecosystem and benefits of targeted treatment methods.

BMT’s AquaDEEP, a fully integrated decision support system, powered by TUFLOW FV, incorporating hydrodynamic, particle tracking, water quality and aquatic ecosystem software helps farmers make informed decisions on site selection and operational management practices.

It incorporates novel advancements in modelling bioactive sea lice dispersion, infestation and response to bath treatment in a coupled hydrodynamic and ecosystem software and will support industry operators and environmental regulators with optimising aquaculture production and minimising ecosystem impacts.

BMT aims to enhance the particle tracking module in AquaDEEP to incorporate sea lice maturation and motility response to environmental triggers as well as mortality from bath treatment. This tool will be used to target effective 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.

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