Research and Innovation

Fish health and welfare

We wish our fish to thrive, grow and be healthy. A healthy fish with high welfare performs better and has ultimately better quality. This is essential for the productivity and sustainability in our farming. Good health is primarily ensured through optimal nutrition, beneficial environment in the sea, and preventing measures as vaccines.

Preventive fish health

Our approach is to develop preventive measures against diseases by identifying the causative pathogens and revealing the transmission routes of these pathogens. The first line of preventive measures are systematic pathogen screening and strict hygiene adapted to the production system. The most effective protection of diseases is obtained through vaccination, but also genetic selection by different methods (QTLs and GWAS) may improve disease resistance. Optimal feed and farming environment are also key to reduce disease risk.

The head of a smolt looking at us
Underwater photo of salmon swimming inside a pen

Scoring fish welfare

Fish welfare has risen on the public agenda, and our R&D team on fish health has developed welfare indicators to monitor and ensure the welfare of our fish.

The indicators cover environmental parameters (e.g. oxygen) population parameters (e.g. density) and individual parameters.

Throughout our operations the fish is scored on welfare indicators regularly during their entire lifespan.

Developing individual welfare indicators

Our fish in sea are checked on these and more welfare indicators:

  • Nose/head injury
  • Eye damage
  • Gills and Operculum
  • Scale loss
  • Red belly
  • Skin and fin conditions
  • Wounds
  • Deformities
  • Maturation
  • Lice count
An app for registration of fish welfare
Illustration of iFarm, a fish inside the sensor chamber

Individualized farming

The goal is that each salmon can be identified, monitored and treated individually.

iFarm is a development project running until 2025 awarded four development licences in Norway. iFarm is based on a technology that makes it possible to recognize, record and track each individual fish in the system, and maintain an individual health journal, and allow for targeted health interventions, when required. It will provide better fish health and welfare and will be a leap for the aquaculture industry.

See more details about the iFarm development project started in 2020 (in Norwegian) on iFarm

R&D Fish health and welfare team

Our fish health team is located at the University of Bergen, Norway. Some of the specific pathogens our R&D team focus on are SRS (Salmon Rikettsial Septicaemia) and Tenacibaculum.