CAN THE "BLASTER" IMPROVE THE PROFITABILITY, ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH AND EXPANSION OPPORTUNTIES FOR MARINE AQUACULTURE?

Period of Performance: 01/01/2013 - 12/31/2013

$100K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

KAMPACHI FARMS, LLC
PO Box 4239 Array
Kailua-Kona, HI 96745
Principal Investigator, Firm POC

Abstract

Ectoparastic skin flukes are a major impediment to the commercial viability and sustainable scale-up of responsible mariculture in US waters, and are already a major cost for existing finfish aquaculture globally. Therapeutic bath treatments are expensive and stressful to fish; the costs to productivity - depressed growth, mortalities and poor feed conversion efficiencies - from skin fluke infestations are tremendous; and there are potential impacts to wild fish stocks. We have shown that kampachi (Seriola rivoliana) will learn to enter a treatment chamber, but the challenge of maintaining therapeutic baths inside submerged treatment chambers proved insurmountable. Our preliminary research demonstrates that blue lasers can kill or incapacitate Neobenedenia sp (monogenean fluke ectoparasites), but blue lasers may also damage fish skin or eyes. This project seeks to resolve these challenges, by incorporating a band of blue laser light into a submerged treatment chamber, so that the band moves across the fish & #39;s skin to remove ectoparasites without harming the fish. We seek to prove that the BLASTER (Blue LASer Treatment for Ectoparasite Removal) can control parasites in marine fish operations, benefiting fish health, growth, survival and FCRs and farm profitability, the potential for expansion of the marine fish culture industry, and reduced potential impacts to wild fish stocks.