Lumpfish research at CSAR

Producing native lumpfish for the UK salmon industry

Parasitic sea-lice are the biggest threat facing sustainable salmon production in the world with an annual cost to industry of £500 mill. Using lumpfish as cleaner fish offers an attractive alternative to the use of chemicals or medicines. Research on lumpfish at the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR) - Swansea University, started in 2014. Following this, an R&D collaboration project was developed with industry (c.£1.2 M) to develop this novel species as a solution to the sea-lice problem facing the industry. With a developing network throughout the North Atlantic, a new 4 year WEFO project (c £2M), and two new UK research and development collaborations started in 2018 (c £0.25M annually and £0.05M), CSAR are playing an increasingly major role in Lumpfish research and industry development at both a UK and international level.

The lumpfish project continues to provide ample opportunities for enhancing the student experience and to date we have had: three funded postgraduate scholarships (2 PhD, 1 MRes), over 20 UG and PGR student projects have been developed, 3 ERASMUS exchange programs, 6 intern placements and over 70 undergrad students have worked for up to 6 weeks in CSAR learning aspects of lumpfish husbandry and writing a practical report on nutrition and welfare.

A multi-country collaboration with the largest UK cleaner fish supplier (Cleaner Fish Company Ltd.), largest lumpfish producer in the UK (Ocean Matters Ltd) and one of the largest salmon producers (The Scottish Salmon Company), will allow CSAR to develop novel UK disease screened lumpfish for the salmon industry.

Distribution of Lumpfish from CSAR


Powell A, Treasurer JW, Pooley CL, Keay AJ, Lloyd R, Imsland AK and Garcia de Leaniz C. 2018. Use of lumpfish for sea-lice control in salmon farming: challenges and opportunities. Reviews in Aquaculture 10, 683–702

Whittaker BA, Consuegra S, Garcia de Leaniz C. 2018. Genetic and phenotypic differentiation of lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus) across the North Atlantic: implications for conservation and aquaculture. PeerJ 6:e5974

Pooley, C.L., Berwick, M.G., Garcia de Leaniz, C., (2019). Chemical degumming increases larvae size and facilitates the commercial production of Lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus) eggs. bioRxiv

Brooker, A.J., Papadopoulou, A., Gutierrez, C., Rey, S., Davie, A., Migaud, H., (2018). Sustainable production and use of cleaner fish for the biological control of sea lice: recent advances and current challenges. Veterinary Record 183, 383. doi: 10.1136/vr.104966

Powell A, Pooley C, Scolamacchia M, Garcia de Leaniz C. (2018b). Review of lumpfish biology In: Treasurer JW, editor. Cleaner Fish Biology and Aquaculture Applications. Sheffield: 5M Publishing Ltd.; pp. 98-121.

Treasurer J, Prickett R, Zietz M, Hempleman C, Garcia de Leaniz C. (2018). Cleaner fish rearing and deployment in the UK. In: Treasurer JW, editor. Cleaner Fish Biology and Aquaculture Applications. Sheffield: 5M Publishing Ltd.;  pp. 376-91.

Lumpfish husbandry protocols

As lumpfish are a new species to aquaculture, there is a significant lack of standardisation when it comes to husbandry practices.  Sourcing protocols can be difficult and many are shared between facilities.  Below are a sample of the Standard Operating Procedures developed at CSAR for working with lumpfish. 

  • Reception, Traceability and Screening of Lumpfish Broodstock
  • Lumpfish stripping and egg fertilisation
  • Sampling for pathogen screening
  • Lumpfish egg degumming
  • Treating Lumpfish eggs with Pyceze
  • Lumpfish Larvae Transport
  • Lumpfish milt extraction and storage
  • Traceability of Lumpfish - PIT tagging

If you would like more information regarding these SOPs or to gain access please contact Paul Howes.