Kirstin Eliasen evaluates indicator system for Salmon Lice in Norway

The Norwegian Minister of Fisheries, Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen, has asked the Norwegian Research Council to evaluate the scientific basis for recommendations, given to the Ministry. Kirstin Eliasen, Head of Department at P / F Fiskaaling, is a member of the expert committee.

The Norwegian so-called Traffic Light System (trafikklyssystemet) is an evaluation system, based on salmon lice counts in the fish farming industry. The system operates with simulation models that predict lice infections in Norwegian areas. The implicated aquaculture stations are then presented with the colour red, yellow or green. Red signifies that production must be reduced; yellow signifies status quo; green allows for increased production.

Models and methods to be evaluated

The Traffic Light System is designed to ensure predictable and sustainable growth in the aquaculture inustry. The scheme, based on scientific advice, is constantly evolving, building on the best current knowledge at all times.

Therefore, a broad-based expert committee has been established with the aim to re-evaluate the current practice. The committee will produce an annual overall analysis of all available knowledge. A separate steering group ensures the quality of this work. The committee held its first meeting on December 17, 2020.

The purpose of the evaluation is to:

  • Evaluate the use and choice of scientific models and methods: Strengths and weaknesses; risk and uncertainty management, results and statistics; and the quality of the reviews.
  • Assess the extent to which the recommendations from the steering group to the Ministry of Trade and Industry reflect the scientific basis.

Broad expertise

The Norwegian Research Council has emphasized finding candidates with high scientific competence, but at the same time avoiding strong ties to the Norwegian environments. It has been important for the Research Council to set up a committee that is characterised by competence and impartiality.

The Evaluation Committee members are:

  • Professor Crawford Revie, University of Strathclyde, UK (Chair)
  • Deputy Director / Professor Anders Koed, DTU Aqua, Denmark
  • Professor Andre Visser, DTU Aqua, Denmark
  • Dr Dave Jackson, Marine Institute Ireland
  • Associate Professor Heather Swanson, University of Aarhus, Denmark
  • Assistant Professor Jarno Vanhatalo, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • Head of department Kirstin Eliasen, Fiskaaling, Faroe Islands
  • Professor Jimmy Turnbull, University of Sterling, UK

The evaluation committee shall submit a preliminary assessment by 1 July 2021. The final report shall be submitted to the Research Council on 30 November 2021.

Kirstin Eliasen has a PhD in biology, working at Fiskaaling since 2013. She has extensive experience working with salmon lice. Kirstin participates in several international research projects, and she is considered one of the world's leading researchers within the use of lumpfish for combating sea lice in aquaculture.