When technology meets biology
By 2050 the world population will reach 9.7 billion according to WHO. Aquaculture will probably be the solution to future food demand and play an essential part in preventing hunger and malnutrition. Fish is a sustainable protein source with high nutrition levels. But to achieve growth and maintain sustainability it is important to invest in technology development and contribute to a sustainable and efficient industry.
The fish and seafood industry is a sustainable industry and farmed fish has a lower climate impact than meat and dairy products. The reason for this is that the fish does not use energy to maintain body temperature higher than their surroundings and that the fish therefore utilize the feed resources in a highly efficient manner.
Using the ocean as the new food chamber is essential to feed an increasing population with healthy nutrients, good protein sources and Omega-3. Growth is, however, a challenge and at the moment, the major seafood companies reports reduction in production volumes due to biological challenges.
In order to succeed in generating the necessary growth in aquaculture, we need to apply new knowledge and implement new technology. The use of recycling technology to produce what is called postsmolt will probably be an important focus area in the years to come. One of the most interesting research findings in aquaculture shows that postsmolt has a lower infection-rate of lice and that it tolerates lice treatment better. At the same time, several manufacturers have shown that this is a competitive model of production. The Faroe Islands have been far ahead for the production of large smolt and results from their work have shown that up to 400 grams are cheaper to produce on land than in cages. Another benefit is that by growing the smolt longer on land the production time in the sea is also shortened which can enable increased overall production.
Norway is now following this trend, and it is heavily invested in post smolt production. There are great opportunities to optimize production further if we adapt the technology to the biology and not the other way around. A very exciting project, which can be mentioned in this regard, is Sisomar AS's new facility, where postmolt is produced close to isosmotic conditions and where they have invested heavily in automation to prevent the fish from being stressed.
We work closely with our customers to contribute to this development, says Ole Gabriel Kverneland, Sales Manager at AKVA group. We cannot force the fish to accept our technology. We must find out what is optimal for the fish and make solutions to extract the potential that lies in the biology. It is technically demanding work, but we believe that land-based production of larger smolt will be an important instrument for growth in the aquaculture industry. As a supplier, we are actively working to facilitate this growth, "concludes Ole Gabriel.