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Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ClearSalmonLice (ClearSalmonLice)

Reporting period: 2016-02-01 to 2016-07-31

Aquaculture is the fastest growing sector of animal production worldwide. The market of Atlantic salmon is growing fast - since 2010 the growth rate has been approx. 20 per cent annually according to FAO FishStat. But in contrast to the rest of the world, the sector is stagnating in EU (EU Commission).

Salmon lice (Lepeophtheirus salmonis) and sea lice (Caligus elongatus) have vast detrimental impact on Salmon aquaculture. Studies estimate 9 per cent of annual global production of salmon is lost to salmon and sea lice. The lice cause haemorrhaging and act as vehicles of bacterial and viral pathogens. Their damaging effects range from slow growth to high death rates of entire aquaculture populations, posing severe financial risks on aquaculture producers. Remedies include antibiotics, pesticides and chemotherapic drugs - all are highly harmful to ecosystems and fishing, especially the lobster and its industry are negatively influenced by the solutions. Further, there is increasing documentation that lice develop resistance to chemical treatments leaving salmon producers without many possibilities to maintain business.

As aqua farms of salmon are located in near-coastal locations, lice from aqua farms are transmitted to wild salmonids as they descend from rivers to oceans. Lice attaching themselves to wild ‘baby salmons’ or salmonids bare with them a death toll of 10 - 20 per cent. The consequence is the demise of the stock of wild salmon and the entire ecosystem preying on them, e.g. killer whales, seals, bears, and eagles.

Global food production is under transformation as global warming and increased population stress existing food production structures, whether land or sea based. Fishing wild fish including salmon cannot be sustained as wild stock is diminishing. The EU Blue Growth Strategy identifies aquaculture as a sector which could boost economic growth across Europe and bring social benefits through new jobs.

The Future Brief from EU’s Science for Environment Policy states that “there is a growing gap between the amount of seafood consumed in the EU, and the amount caught from wild fisheries. The European Commission calls for this gap to be partly filled with environmentally responsible aquaculture (European Commission, 2013). Aquaculture thus has an important role to play in Europe’s food security as well as its economic growth.”

Our solution makes such a contribution by diminishing costs of aquaculture production in sustainable way that does not harm ecosystems. By providing a competitive solution it also provides a economic opportunity to employment in coastal areas - areas that often are marred by unemployment.

Since the submission of the application of Clear Salmon Lice a number of key developments have happened.

The large outbreak of lice in winter 2016/17 saw supply of salmon decrease by nine per cent, prices soaring up to 50 per cent, and increased investments in measures against lice. These include new designs of (larger) nets, application of sonics, and other measures, including intensified investments in new solutions such as fresh water solutions. The plethora of solutions supports the promise that there is a very large market to explore. We are also highly encouraged by the new solutions in fresh water solutions as they add credibility to our solution.

Frama has developed a prototype that solves the pandemic of sea and salmon lice. Through our patented device, fresh water is introduced in the salt water aqua-cultural environment, which kills the lice in the production unit. Based on low cost components our patented device offers a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to high-cost remedies utilizing fresh water induction to salt water aqua-cultural environment, which kills the lice in the production unit.

Our solution utilises three natural facts:
1) Salmon/sea lice cannot by biological presets live in freshwater
2) Freshwater is lighter than salt water
3) Salmons are attracted to freshwater

While other fresh water solutions in part utilize the same biological presets our patented solution is by far more economical as operation and production costs are much lower. As a result we remain highly enthusiastic of our potential.

Key objectives of the feasibility study
The key objectives of the feasibility study has been:
• To optimize the prototype solution and establish the key operational parameters through field trials (in operating production units);
• Market survey to gather information to identify primary customer segment and how overcome end-user barriers
• To verify the appropriate business models for the different target markets.

It is expected that the outcome of the feasibility study will directly lead to a Phase 2 application with the purpose of conducting a large scale test across different North European countries with global aquaculture equipment providers and customers.
Work has been performed according to the scheduled work plan.
Task 1: Test and optimize ClearSalmonLice and establish key operational parameters including initial client feedback.

Task 2: Market survey for use of marketing and stakeholder management.
Task 3: Validation of the business model

Key findings have verified the potential of the solution, but also identified non-technical barriers within operational procedures.
- The technical feasibility research has substantiated the functionality of the solution by showing that the salmon are in fact entering the Frama structure; that the lice is detaching itself from the salmon even during small distances; and even that salmons eat the lice as the fall to the bottom of the tubular.
- Durational tests show the salmon to have a returning behavior to the structure and suggest that the salmon ‘learn’ to enter and that returning to the tubular structure becomes an inherent and recurring behavior that continue as the salmon grows older.

The impact of these tests substantiate the efficient functionality of the solution and underscores the strengths of utilizing biological presets as a means to concur the pandemic of salmon and sea lice. It also suggests flexibility to the design of the solution as the tests indicate that the entering of the salmon is not reliant on narrow characteristics.

Results also include validated cost structures and qualified revenue streams as well as identifying innovative business models, which have received very positive market reaction from potential partners.
- Workshops have been conducted with a number of large global companies at strategic management level as well operational staff levels to identify improvements to our prototype.
- One concern was raised to choice of material to minimize risks of harming nets and other structures during high seas and winds. An improvement was identified.
The project ClearSalmonLice moves beyond state of the art of the market. A few market agents have started to utilize fresh water treatment this is done from a curing paradigm rather than integrated into operation of salt water bassins.

Using low cost materials the ClearSalmonLice project shows a way that fulfill the Blue Growth strategy of the Commission. The solution can provide a substantial contribution to securing food production in a competitive and yet sustainable fashion, enabling healthy food production and job creation within the European Union.

The results substantiate an expectation of a strong market penetration in partnerships with market leaders. A conservative expectation is 10 to 20 per cent in the near market with a expected profit revenue of 20 to 30 mill euros within a five year period.