Norway opens research center for closed-containment salmon farming
Undercurrent News, 12 June 2015
Norway has opened a center for researching innovation in closed-containment farming of Atlantic salmon.
Four Norwegian research institutions, two outside of Norway, and several industry partners from technology and the aquaculture industry, have now started operations at the center, named CtrlAQUA.
It has been given NOK 200 million and eight years to reach its ambition of producing closed-containment, off-the-shelf systems capable of growing salmon up to 1 kilogram.
“I have great expectations for the achievements of CtrlAQUA,” said Norwegian minister of fisheries Elisabeth Aspaker. “Even though eight years is a long time, it is urgent that we find solutions to reach the goals. CtrlAQUA is an important part of this.”
Aspaker stated in her speech that the goal of the CtrlAQUA SFI is perfectly compatible with the government’s ambitions for the aquaculture industry.
CtrlAQUA is one of the Centres for Research-Based Innovation (SFI), a major program created by the Research Council of Norway.
The primary goal of the SFI program is to strengthen companies’ capacity for innovation, and to develop leading industry-relevant research institutions. Nofima is accompanied by five solid research institutions in CtrlAQUA: Uni Research, the University of Bergen, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the Freshwater Institute in the US and the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.
Dr. Fyhn Terjesen showed that closed-containment systems for salmon up to one kilogram have further advantages than simply preventing lice and escapes:
“We can control the environment in which the fish lives in a closed-containment system. The environment is more stable and the fish use less energy adapting to it. This means that the salmon has more energy available for growth and good health.”
The main focus of the center is innovation in closed-containment systems for the most vulnerable periods of the salmon production cycle, such as the first seawater phase, known as the “postsmolt” phase, when the fish weigh up to about 1 kilogram. The most important innovation in the center will be reliable and efficient production of postsmolts in closed-containment systems on land or in the sea. The industry can in this way obtain a good alternative or supplement to the current production technology using open cages, it is hoped.