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Aqua Nor 2013: On the Path to Sustainable Aquaculture

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ANALYSIS - Sustainable farming should focus around producing fish in the best possible way and, although the Norwegian aquaculture industry is on the path to being more responsible, there are still issues to be addressed, writes Lucy Towers, TheFishSite Editor, live from Aqua Nor 2013, Trondheim, Norway.

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Responsible aquaculture is not only important to the environment but also as it can improve consumer confidence, said Hugo Bjornstad, State secretary, Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs, during his presentation at Aqua Nor 2013.

The production of salmon and trout in Norway is growing by about eight per cent each year, so the industry must be doing something right, he said.

But, despite the Norwegian industry being one of the most sustainable, there are still issues that need to be addressed. These five areas have been identified as:

  • genetic interaction from escapees
  • pollution and effluents
  • diseases, including sea lice
  • use of coastal areas
  • feed

In response to addressing these issues, indicators have been developed to help manage the aquaculture industry whilst also maintaining sustainability.

To control growth, the government has set up a zoning system, which helps with competitive coastal uses.

In order to get a license to farm salmon in Norway, companies must demonstrate technology that helps to reduce or prevent sea lice or escapees. Doing this ensures that the industry moves forward in a sustainable manner through knowledge sharing.

One of the biggest long term challenges to the aquaculture industry is the use of wild fish stocks for feed. In response to the problem, lots of potential substances are currently being looked at as substitutes, but it is important that they deliver the same health benefits to the consumer as well as the fish.

In the shorter term, wild fish stocks need to be protected from illegal fishing, which also needs to be addressed and stopped.

Norwegian Center of Expertise

As a whole, Norway is a very good example of how everyone is working together towards this sustainable future. Another company working towards change is the Norwegian Center of Expertise (NCE).

The NCE is comprised of clusters of companies all focusing on improvements in the sector. For 2013 the NCE is focussing on the reduction of sealice, feed regimes, closed cage systems, organic waste as an energy source and training programmes.

Giving the presentation on the NCE, Stal Hegglund, Leader of NCE, said the NCE describes itself as a locomotive in the development of sustainable aquaculture in Norway.

Working together and sharing knowledge is the way forward said Mr Hegglund.

If you would like to learn more about the NCE or how to join, please click here.