Atlantic salmon farms shift to open seas, trying to shake off lice

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Atlantic salmon farming companies are designing huge pens to raise fish in the open seas in a radical shift from calm coastal waters where marine lice have slowed growth of the billion-dollar industry.

The drive for new designs by Norway, producer of 54 percent of all farmed Atlantic salmon in 2016, will have to cope with ocean storms that can rip cages and free thousands of fish. Escapees disrupt natural stocks by breeding with wild cousins.

“The industry has to develop and to solve the environmental challenges it has, especially linked to salmon lice,” Norwegian Fisheries Minister Per Sandberg told Reuters, referring to parasites that often spread infections resistant to antibiotics.

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