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NORWEGIAN research institute Nofima has launched a project to find other markets for lumpfish, aside from fighting sea lice.
Lumpfish have become an important tool in the fight against the parasite that costs salmon farmers a fortune every year.
However, they are only required until they weigh about half a kilo, after which they are usually crushed into animal feed.
The fish is quite unlike others on the market and has never been part of the European diet.
In the project called ‘From louse-eater to the dinner plate’, Nofima and salmon producer Lerøy Aurora will attempt to find out if there is a new market for lumpfish, starting with Asia.
‘Based on studies of available secondary information, we will select a market and travel there to investigate further,’ said researcher Bjørg Helen Nøstvold of Nofima.
‘Who are the buyers, how can the fish be used? What kind of prices are likely, and so on? We do for example know that small quantities of wild caught lumpfish have been exported from Iceland.
‘We also know that businesses have worked on establishing a market in South Korea, but we don’t know how they have fared.’
If the use of lumpfish by the salmon industry continues to grow as expected, it is projected that as much as 100,000 tonnes of farmed lumpfish could be available for sale each year.
The project has been funded with NOK 300,000 from the Troms county council and NOK 250,000 from the Regional Research Fund North.