The Norwegian Veterinary Institute has reported a surge in pasteurellosis and infectious salmon anemia (ISA) cases in the Norwegian salmon farming industry, indicating the need for more research on fish health.
"Salmon lice gets a lot of attention but the fish health situation in Norwegian aquaculture is under-communicated," said Ingunn Sommerset, Veterinary Institute head of fish health told IntraFish. "Little public funding is given for research on infectious diseases."
During the first 10 months of the year, the industry has detected pasteurellosis in 29 Norwegian localities, particularly in Western Norway.
Since 2012, the disease has mainly been detected in lumpfish, with 2016 the peak year with 28 detections.
"In Scotland the disease has caused great losses to the industry." Sommerset said. "The danger is that it might happen here too."
The variant that infects lumpfish and salmon are different. The variant pasteurellose skyensis, which infects salmon, was detected for the first time in two sites in Norway this year.
While Scotland has battled the disease for some time, it's unclear what the source for the Norwegian outbreaks could be, Sommerset said.
Delousing treatments could be one cause of the outbreaks, she said, since it usually damages the fish's external barriers to infectious agents, adding stress to the immune system.
ISA, long a threat to the industry worldwide, has also received less attention than it should, Sommerset said.
By the end of October, 22 cases of ISA were detected in Norway this year, the most since the 1990s.
Estimates of yearly losses from sea lice to the global salmon farming industry run as high as $1 billion (€880 million) by some calculations.
For more in-depth research on sea lice's impact on the sector, purchase our in-depth IntraFish Business Intelligence report.