The Norwegian Seafood Federation (FHL) reported on its website last week it is worried about the lice situation.

“This fall we are seeing that lice are creating extra major challenges for salmon producers in some areas, which must be met by intensified efforts. For some companies it’ll mean harvesting earlier than planned,” warned FHL.

The environmental organization Bellona was the first to react. Bellona’s advisor for marine management, Sigurd Enge, told IntraFish, “Salmon lice figures must be slashed -- either through harvesting or treatment.”

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is taking this a step further. “The news shows yet again the industry does not have control over salmon lice and the problem is far from resolved," Lars Andresen, senior advisor at WWF, told IntraFish.

"We seriously doubt the industry can deal with this on its own and the authorities must take charge. In that the FHL has warned it has used up the tools they have at their disposition, then it’s up to the authorities to apply the most effective tool, harvesting.

"Ideally the industry and authorities should work together on earlier harvesting of production to be followed by laying larger areas fallow, but the Norwegian Food Safety Authority (NFSA) has previously dealt with situations forcefully by imposing harvesting orders," he said.

He referred to the industry’s current dilemma of lice resistance to medicinal treatments that have previously been effective.

“It’s absolutely vital to do away with the numbers of hosts for the lice. We expect the authorities to ensure emptying of areas with extensive lice counts, and that strict requirements are met before new releases are carried out,” said Andresen.