CAMPBELL RIVER, B.C. - A huge vessel capable of offering what is described as “fish friendly health treatments” to farmed salmon is now at work for the largest Atlantic salmon farming company in British Columbia.

Mowi Canada West, which operates Marine Harvest fish farms in B.C., says the Aqua Tromoy is the most technologically advanced vessel ever to serve the Canadian aquaculture industry.

The Polish-built, 77-metre vessel, which launched last year, can hold 3,000 cubic metres of water, the equivalent of eight Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Mowi says the ship is an important tool in its pest management strategy, partly because it can lift farmed salmon from their pens and bathe them in fresh water to remove pests such as sea lice.

Mowi's managing director Diane Morrison says the Aqua Tromoy allows the company to proactively manage fish health in an environmentally friendly manner.

The ship is currently moored in Duncan Bay, just north of Campbell River.

The Aqua Tromoy has triple the capacity of any other Mowi vessel, Morrison says in a statement.

"Onboard reverse osmosis systems ... can generate ... fresh water from sea water to fill the holds in 24 hours," the release says.

"Atlantic salmon are lifted aboard from farm pens and immersed in the fresh water, which is harmless to the fish, but removes sea lice and other saltwater microbes and parasites that do not tolerate low-salinity water well.”

Before the water is pumped back into the ocean, it is passed through filters to capture and retain any parasites, the company says.

The diesel-powered ship, carrying a live-aboard crew of nine, also has an on-board water treatment process, while the engine system uses urea to reduce nitrogen oxide pollutants in exhaust gases.

Mowi Canada West employs 600 people and operates salmon farms and processing plants in Surrey and on eastern Vancouver Island, the Broughton Archipelago and central coast, producing 45,000 tonnes of Atlantic salmon each year.