Mowi (formerly Marine Harvest) is the largest salmon producer worldwide and has been a pioneer in farming salmon in Norway, Scotland, Ireland, Canada and Chile. When sea lice became an issue mainly at its European based farms, the company looked to find alternative solutions to controlling lice apart from using chemical treatments which were no longer as effective and also environmentally damaging.
Cleanerfish species such as the wrasses and lumpfish were initially used in the early 1990's but were abandoned when alternative oral treatments were developed. In the intervening years, the salmon farming industry has had to comply with stricter legislation on environmental discharges and certification . This stimulated the industry to look again at using cleanerfish as a means of control and Mowi enlisted the services of the marine finfish consultant Richard Prickett to start ballan wrasse production at an old cod hatchery at Machrihanish near Campbeltown. Once this unit had become established Richard moved onto look at the potential for lumpfish production and the DCL project was started.
Mowi and NMC have continued their collaboration to this day and the Portland Port project exclusively supplies Mowi with fish for its own farms in Scotland.