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Reporting period: 2017-02-01 to 2017-07-31

One of the greatest problems for salmon farming is the parasitic copepod, a sea-lice which hangs in the fish avoiding its growth, producing wounds and even the death. Nowadays the fight against this parasite is the use of chemicals and drugs. It goes against the organic farming and the companies general interest because of the lost of increasing organic market, the bad image of salmon farming and its elevated cost. Other negative impacts in environment and natural fish stocks can also be found.

Salmon farming is a big industry with ca. 14,000 mill. € per year in the world. It is mainly placed in Norway and Chile. The parasitic copepod causes a cost of 300 mill. € per year only in Europe.

The project deals with an innovative method for sea-lice elimination in salmon farms. It is the use of invertebrate filter feeders which eat the parasitic copepod in its early free-living planktonic stage. It avoids the parasitic copepod reachs its adulthood in the parasitic stage when it hangs in the fish. The method is totally environmental friendly, organic farming compatible and cost-effective. Preliminary cost analysis shows a 25% of cost savings and it might also coproduce commercial filter feeders in the same salmon farm. Moreover the method is almost totally developed, having reached a TRL 8 after laboratory, pilot scale and operational environment demonstration.
The project was exectude between February and July 2017. The project execution was carried out by a team formed by personnell of the Company and skillfulled contractors. The Company R&D director ()also partner of the company) managed the project exectution. He counted with the advice of an expert coacher (Patrice Vandendale) provided by the EU. There were three main contractors:
1.- Aa team of engineers placed in the neighbourhood. They collaborate with different industry sectors and had previous contact with Seistag. They also have contacts in marine and aquaculture. They provided support in two main fields. The first one was hiring a highly skilfully technician who supervised the project execution and gave advice on technical questions and helped to explore the potential market. The second field of action was providing coaching and qualified managing advice to the business plans proposed within Nauplius project execution.
2.- A consultancy focused on labour and fiscal advice. They have access to a wide network of local companies that includes aquaculture companies. Moreover, they have experience in term of business analysis and had previously collaborated with Seistag. The Company provided support by showing the economic structure of the different business cases: financial needs, equilibrium point, risk analysis, etc.
3.- A company focused on graphic services, including design, communication and printing. It is placed close to Seistag offices. They had already provided support to Seistag for communication actions such as preparation of commercial catalogues. The Company provided contents (texts and grahics) and solved the printing of presentations, triptychs, etc.

During Nauplius project execution, many different actions have been carried out. They include contacts with private companies, with public research institutes and with regional government in other to ensure the legal feasibility. A complete list of the different contacts can be found at annex 4. The most relevant questions are the followings:
1.- A big company producing salmon (in Norway and abroad). They have interest on minimizing the impact of copepods. They are interested on testing the method before any judge. The testing compromises around two years and a big investment (ca. 1,5M€).
2.- Local aquaculture industry interested on multitrofic models. They consider growing salmon in the neighbourhood and other combinations of species. After some research, the impact of copepods within the local industry result to be very low.
3.- Private companies supplying goods to the local aquaculture industry. They help to calculate the costs of testing the Nauplius method. They might be partners to the development of technical facilities for Nauplius method development.
4.- Regional and local administration. They explained the administrative issues to carry out a trial in real environment. Time for licensing will be around a year. Time for testing up to 5 years. Concession costs are low but operational costs will be high if there is no previous infrastructure (ship, crane, productive structure at the sea, etc.).

The project made possible to explore different business cases, from licensing to producing salmon. The feasibility and realism of every business case was studied considering the real situation and capabilities of Seistag. The conclusions reached are the followings:
1.- Before launching to the market tools and devices for the method implementation, it is needed to test successfully the method within operational environment.
2.- Seistag is not producing salmon, so the company has limited means to test the new technology in real environment.
3.- Local producers of salmon have not significant troubles with copepods due to hot waters. This means that no partner can be founded in the neighbourhood.
4.- Companies producing salmon are nearly always big companies. Finding a partner SME to test and develop the method is nearly impossible.
5.- The method is a throughput to be used by big companies. Controlling the effective use of the method within their installations might not be easy.
The project exectuion did not include any research actions. Therefore, there is no progess beyond the state of the art in terms of science and technology.

The actions carried out were:
1.- Market analysis.
2.- Partner searching in Europe.
3.- Business case definition considering Seistag capabilities.
4.- Feasibility analysis in terms of finnancial and profits.
5.- Communication and dissemination actions.
6.- Strategical evaluation of investments within Seistag.

The progress achieved refers to a widder knowledge on the market, the main actors and how to develop a profitable business case considering the capaibilities of Seistag.

As result of this actions, the Company identified two feasible business cases:
1.- Collaboration with big/international Companies farming salmon, mainly placed in Norway.
2.- Collaboration with small/local Companies developping multitrofic aquaculture in the neighbourghood.

During SME Instrument Phase I execution both paths have been explored. First results have been achieved and further actions are expected in the following months.