Norwegian salmon farming moves to cleaner waters: indoors – .

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Norwegian salmon farming moves to cleaner waters: indoors – .


Fredrikstad (Norway) (AFP)

Hundreds of thousands of salmon swim against the current in southeast Norway – in huge inland reservoirs far from the nearest river, as controversial industry increasingly embraces greener land-based facilities .

The fish live in two gigantic tanks inside a low-key industrial building in Fredrikstad owned by a company that plans to breed salmon in similar environments even further away in the United States.

By raising salmon on land, the industry is trying to move away from the river or sea cages that have drawn criticism over a multitude of issues.

The problems range from expensive massive escapes to fish infected with sea lice treated with chemicals to mounds of fecal matter and food that collects on the seabed under farms.

“At sea you depend on the Almighty for many things. On an earthly farm, we are suddenly the all-powerful, ”Roger Fredriksen, Managing Director of Fredrikstad Seafoods, told AFP.

“Here we control everything: temperature, oxygen, pH, CO2,” he said while visiting Norway’s first land-based salmon farm, opened in 2019.

Pumped to the nearby mouth of Norway’s largest river, the salt water that feeds the facility is treated with UV light to remove viruses and bacteria, then it is recycled and filtered through a loop for repeated use. .

Under dim blue light, designed to trigger their appetites, salmon swim day and night as they are fed food pellets from a hanging dispenser.

When they reach between four and five kilograms (nine and 11 pounds), they are harvested.

“The fish has a very firm consistency,” said veterinarian Sandra Ledang, production manager at the adjacent slaughterhouse.

“It’s because he swims against the tide all his life, from his arrival at our facilities until his slaughter. It is exercised absolutely every day, ”she added.

As populations are expected to increase, with nearly 10 billion mouths to feed by 2050, food production must be optimized.

# photo1 While protein-rich salmon remains a luxury in many places, it is finding new customers among the growing middle class, especially in Asia.

– Made in China salmon –

Matthias Halwart, a senior executive in the Fisheries Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), sees clear benefits to recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), such as those being tested in Norway.

# photo2 ″ You have a fully controlled environment for the fish, very low water use, very good disease control, very efficient land use, you can optimize your feeding strategies and you can have a very good proximity to the market, ”Halwart told AFP. .

Proponents claim that although land-based farms require a lot of energy, their proximity to consumers reduces transport use, making them better for the environment.

Land-based farming projects are already spreading around the world and soon salmon, now mostly farmed in Norwegian, Chilean, Scottish and Canadian waters, will also be produced in Japan, Florida or China.

Nordic Aquafarms, the parent company of Fredrikstad Seafoods, works on two farms in the United States, one in Maine on the east coast, the other in California on the west coast.

#photo3

The plan is to use Icelandic salmon roe to breed the fish there.

“The idea is to produce locally. No need to fly the salmon over the ocean from one continent to another, ”said Fredriksen.

– Happy fish? –

However, production costs are even higher and land-based salmon farming is now seen more as a complement than a substitute for sea or river farming.

The NGO Compassion in World Farming, which campaigns against intensive factory farming, fears that the search for profits will come at the expense of animal welfare.

“We estimate that the minimum density necessary for profitability is 50 kilograms per cubic meter of water”, specifies Lucille Bellegarde, head of agrifood affairs for the French branch of the organization.

But she lamented that “the average density found in existing systems is rather 80 kilograms per cubic meter” – eight times denser than what the NGO recommends.

#photo4

Fredriksen said those fears are wrong because his farm cares about the welfare of salmon.

“If the fish aren’t happy, they don’t grow. “

ngu-phy/jll/lth/oho

Hundreds of thousands of salmon swim against the current in southeast Norway – in huge inland reservoirs far from the nearest river, as controversial industry increasingly embraces greener land-based facilities .

#photo5

The fish live in two gigantic tanks inside a low-key industrial building in Fredrikstad owned by a company that plans to breed salmon in similar environments even further away in the United States.

By raising salmon on land, the industry is trying to move away from the river or sea cages that have drawn criticism over a multitude of issues.

The problems range from expensive massive escapes to fish infected with sea lice treated with chemicals to mounds of fecal matter and food that collects on the seabed under farms.

“At sea you depend on the Almighty for many things. On an earthly farm, we are suddenly the all-powerful, ”Roger Fredriksen, Managing Director of Fredrikstad Seafoods, told AFP.

“Here we control everything: temperature, oxygen, pH, CO2,” he said while visiting Norway’s first land-based salmon farm, opened in 2019.

Pumped to the nearby mouth of Norway’s largest river, the salt water that feeds the facility is treated with UV light to remove viruses and bacteria, then it is recycled and filtered through a loop for repeated use. .

Under dim blue light, designed to trigger their appetites, salmon swim day and night as they are fed food pellets from a hanging dispenser.

When they reach between four and five kilograms (nine and 11 pounds), they are harvested.

“The fish has a very firm consistency,” said veterinarian Sandra Ledang, production manager at the adjacent slaughterhouse.

“It’s because he swims against the tide all his life, from his arrival at our facilities until his slaughter. It is exercised absolutely every day, ”she added.

As populations are expected to increase, with nearly 10 billion mouths to feed by 2050, food production must be optimized.

#photo6

While protein-rich salmon remains a luxury in many places, it is finding new customers among the growing middle class, especially in Asia.

– Made in China salmon –

Matthias Halwart, a senior executive in the Fisheries Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), sees clear benefits to recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), such as those being tested in Norway.

#photo7

“You have a fully controlled environment for the fish, very low water use, very good disease control, very efficient land use, you can optimize your feeding strategies and you can have very good proximity. with the market, ”Halwart told AFP. .

Proponents claim that although land-based farms require a lot of energy, their proximity to consumers reduces transport use, making them better for the environment.

Land-based farming projects are already spreading around the world and soon salmon, now mostly farmed in Norwegian, Chilean, Scottish and Canadian waters, will also be produced in Japan, Florida or China.

Nordic Aquafarms, the parent company of Fredrikstad Seafoods, works on two farms in the United States, one in Maine on the east coast, the other in California on the west coast.

#photo8

The plan is to use Icelandic salmon roe to breed the fish there.

“The idea is to produce locally. No need to fly the salmon over the ocean from one continent to another, ”said Fredriksen.

– Happy fish? –

However, production costs are even higher and land-based salmon farming is now seen more as a complement than a substitute for sea or river farming.

The NGO Compassion in World Farming, which campaigns against intensive factory farming, fears that the search for profits will come at the expense of animal welfare.

“We estimate that the minimum density necessary for profitability is 50 kilograms per cubic meter of water”, specifies Lucille Bellegarde, head of agrifood affairs for the French branch of the organization.

But she lamented that “the average density found in existing systems is rather 80 kilograms per cubic meter” – eight times denser than what the NGO recommends.

#photo9

Fredriksen said those fears are wrong because his farm cares about the welfare of salmon.

“If the fish aren’t happy, they don’t grow. “

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