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Benchmark and Cermaq receive funding for vaccine development

January 14, 2022  By Hatchery International Staff

Photo: Cermaq

Benchmark Animal Health and Cermaq Group AS have received NOK 4.2 million (approx. USD $4.8 million) in funding from the Research Council of Norway, to put toward a partnered research project to develop a vaccine against salmon diseases caused by Tenacibaculum bacteria.

Mouth rot and tenacibaculosis represent a major issue for the health and welfare in farmed Atlantic salmon, reduce quality at harvest, and have caused major economic losses to the Atlantic salmon aquaculture industry in Canada and Norway. A preventative vaccine for these diseases would provide a major benefit for the aquaculture industry.

Funding from the Research Council of Norway will allow Benchmark and Cermaq to undertake research evaluating and optimizing novel vaccines again Tenacibaculum bacertia. From Cermaq’s side, the project will be headed by Ph.D. Sverre Sm├ąge and the researchers Cecilie Isachsen Lie and Helene Velle Mayer. At Benchmark, Sarah Barker and Sindre Rosenlund will lead the project alongside the researchers Claire Stanley, Fiona Tulloch and Matthias Winkle.

In Norway, the Norwegian Veterinary Institute reported in 2020 that tenacibaculosis was considered the fifth most important cause of mortality in on-growing salmon, sharing third place with typical winter ulcer disease in terms of reduced salmon welfare. In British Columbia (B.C.), Canada, mouth rot typically occurs following the transfer of smolts to sea sites and can result in up to 40 per cent total cumulative mortality in affected cages.

Even though there is a significant negative impact of tenacibaculosis and mouth rot on fish welfare and the salmon farming industry, there is not yet a commercially available vaccine or preventative solution.

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