Today, Norwegian aquaculture is ranked among the world’s leading programmes, ensuring that we’re not simply meeting demand—we’re doing so with a product of the highest quality.
Ocean-farmed salmon isn’t just a fantastic source of nutrients—it also has a much lower carbon footprint than beef and pork. Of course, what our fish eat also impacts on global resources, so we’re going to extra lengths to ensure that we control what we feed our fish. We’ve introduced more plant-based materials into our fish feeds and, when we do need to use marine products, we’re ensuring they are from sources not suitable for human consumption, derived from secondary fish products (waste cuts, heads, central bones, skin) and pelagic species not so commonly used for human consumption. We’ve also installed cameras into each of our farms so that we can monitor when the fish are full and switch off the feed.
Over the past 30 years, the industry has reduced the volume of feed needed to raise 1 lb of Norwegian salmon to just 1.1 lb of feed—and this number will only get lower as technologies improve. Still, in comparison to chicken or beef, the amount of feed salmon needs per pound is incredibly low.
Protecting our native species
Although farmed salmon is a descendant of wild salmon, preventing farmed salmon escapes helps to preserve the wild species. The Norwegian authorities have set the goal of “zero leaks”.
The escape of even a single fish from a farm is considered to be an environmental crime, which is severely punished. In 1998, the percentage of salmon leaks was 0.46%, but by 2009, it was less than 0.04%. Yet production had increased by nearly 10% during the same period. There’s still work to be done, but we’re getting ever closer to our ‘zero leaks’ goal.