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Conservationists Concerned over Cod Farming

Cod Health Biosecurity +10 more

NORWAY - Conservationists are concerned at the growth of European cod farming following new figures released last week.

According to a report in the British newspaper The Guardian, the WWF in Norway is worried because the levels of cod farming are rising and no environmental imp[act studies have been carried out.

Norway accounts for around 80 per cent of the world's farmed cod production, and it increased its national production by 59 per cent from 10,375 tonnes in 2007 to 16,523 tonnes in 2008.

The Guardian says the figures, from the country's Directorate of Fisheries confirm the rapid growth in the cod farming industry, but they have prompted fears from green groups that the expansion will lead to more escapes from farms and contamination of the gene pool of wild populations.

Around 228,000 cod escaped from Norwegian farms last year, compared with around 100,000 salmon although salmon farming is a much larger industry than cod farming.

The concerns are that when the farmed cod escape they will pass on diseases to the wild fish and there could be problems caused tghrough interbreeding between wild and farmed cod.

However, the report says the industry believes that cod farming will help to met the growing demand for fish.

"Cod farming is definitely part of the solution," Henrik Vikjær Andersen, market director of Codfarmers, one of the world's largest cod farming companies, based in Norway told The Guardian.

"We have exhausted pretty much all the possibilities for food production on land, so the opportunities to increase protein production definitely come from the sea and from aquaculture."