The farming of marine species is gaining success at Nofima. Systematic improvements in all areas of husbandry are responsible. Photo: Jon-Are Berg-Jacobsen/Nofima

Project Year 2015

Optimism for marine species

Hard and purposeful work at Nofima's Centre for Marine Aquaculture has led to success in farming of marine species.

Systematic improvements in all areas of husbandry have resulted in increased survival of cod juveniles.

“In certain tanks we had a 100 per cent survival rate 80 days after hatching. Even though the average survival rate for all 200 tanks is of 33 per cent, this is a vast improvement from about one per cent when production started in 2003,” says Atle Mortensen, who heads the cod breeding programme.

“We have a unique expertise with extensive experience in production of marine fish species. With regard to cod breeding, we optimise everything we possibly can; temperature, environmental change, feed, feeding regimes, water quality, quality sorting of eggs and so on,” says head of research for production biology, Hilde Toften.

Compared to salmon, cod larvae are very small and vulnerable before becoming juveniles . “Cod have a high mortality rate in early stages of life, but when we do everything right, we see an aquaculture potential,” Hilde Toften says.

The stable cod juvenile production at the Centre for Marine Aquaculture makes the facility well suited for research in other areas. In collaboration with three German research institutions, groundbreaking research has been carried out that shows that the expected temperature increase and higher acidity levels in the sea may have a negative impact on reproduction and later life stages in cod.

The cod breeding programme will continue under the auspices of Nofima in 2016. The Nofima researchers’ expertise is also being used to improve production methods for lumpfish. A survey of lumpfish environmental requirements and basic genetics with an aim to breed them is currently undertaken at the Centre for Marine Aquaculture.

Industry stakeholders in aquaculture and various research institutions

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries through the national cod breeding programme, the Research Council of Norway, the EU

More useful research results