Monster Seminar Jam: Elizabeth Fairchild
This seminar is part of the NWFSC's Monster Seminar Jam series.
Elizabeth Fairchild, Ph.D., Research Associate Professor (University of New Hampshire - Department of Biological Sciences & School of Marine Sciences and Ocean Engineering) is presenting a talk, "The use of cleanerfish in salmonid farming: why not transfer this environmentally-friendly technology to boost domestic seafood production?"
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) have been working with the New England aquaculture industry (Atlantic salmon farmers in Maine and steelhead trout farmers in NH) to promote the use of cleanerfish in salmonid cage culture as a means to control parasitic sea lice. The sea lice graze on the skin and mucosal tissue of the fish, leaving them open to secondary infections, as well as decreasing their value upon harvest and processing. The result is sea lice mitigation is the single largest and costly issue facing the global salmonid aquaculture industry today. Historically, farms treated their fish with chemotherapeutics, but sea lice have grown resistant to such drugs and, additionally, this practice is not environmentally friendly. Currently fish farms use a variety of tools to combat sea lice infestation but the most promising tool being used in Canada and Europe is stocking a second fish species - a cleanerfish – into the cages to keep sea lice populations under control. Lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus), a species native to the north Atlantic including the Gulf of Maine, is an effective “biological delouser” and currently raised by the tens of millions each year in Europe for this sole purpose. Dr. Elizabeth Fairchild, a Research Associate Professor at UNH and the co-founder of the US Lumpfish Consortium, will discuss how this cleanerfish process works, provide an overview of cleanerfish research occurring in the US, and explain how using cleanerfish in US Atlantic salmon and steelhead trout farms could lead to a higher economic yield of locally and sustainably grown seafood in New England.
Dr. Elizabeth Fairchild is a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and in the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering at the University of New Hampshire. She focuses on promoting sustainable domestic seafood by creating exciting, applied marine biology projects to address the needs of fishing and aquaculture communities and trains students to become successful scientists. Some of Elizabeth’s most rewarding projects have been “born in the wheelhouse,” stemming from discussions with collaborative fishing partners as they steam to fishing grounds about what fishermen observe during their normal day. Currently her lab focuses on promoting a technology new to the US - using lumpfish, a native fish species grown in hatcheries, as a natural biological delouser to control sea lice in salmon ocean cages. She also is working with the channeled whelk fishery to make it more sustainable by developing new whelk baits and gear. Elizabeth has 25 years of research experience including extensive collaborations with the fishing and aquaculture industries, coastal communities, and state, tribal, and federal resource managers. She has incorporated strong outreach, community involvement, and education in all her successful past projects.
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