The Pathfinder

The aquaculture industry follows with great interest the work that Britt Kristin Reiten does every day. Right now she may be in the process of solving very many of the industry's challenges.

Contact person
Portrettbilde av Britt K. Megård Reiten
Britt K. Megård Reiten

Research Technician
Phone: +47 915 70 251
britt.kristin.reiten@nofima.no

Contact person
Portrettbilde av Merete Kaspersen
Merete Kaspersen

Human Resources Adviser
Phone: +47 902 90 036
merete.kaspersen@nofima.no

Britt has worked in Nofima since 2007. She works as a research technician and describes her daily life as extremely varied and educational. It also contains a lot of excitement because the research she is participating in advances the fish farming industry steadily forward.

– I have been following the industry since the mid-90s, have been privileged to be involved in many different aspects and have experienced the incredible development that has occurred since then and that is still ongoing. In recent years I have worked with recycling. That means that we clean the water the fish grow up in and re-use it several times. Indications are that fish that have grown up in recycled water are more robust than the fish that have been in the throughput plant, “said Britt.

Control everything

Particles are removed from the water, which is then purified through the biofiltre to remove fish urine substances. The biofiltre consists simply of bacteria that convert urea, so that the water does not become toxic to fish. Afterwards, the water is aerated to remove CO2, which is a gas produced by the fish during growth. CO2 is also harmful in high concentration. The water is then ready to be re-used.

– One of the benefits of this type of plant is that it enables us to have better control over the water that is used as an environment for the fish and over the water that is discharged from the plant. So little new water is needed that we are able to treat all the water that enters and leaves the plant.. In a recycling plant, you also have better control of water temperature and can speed up the growth of fish, Britt explains.

She ensures control of the various processes that are involved in the research. Based on experience, this means that she his able to use all of her skills and then some.

– It helps to have a Pippi Longstocking attitude towards things that may pop up: ‘I’ve never tried before, so I am probably good at it’, she smiles.

Learns everything

For example, she can be a plumber, electrician and carpenter if needed. If something arises that she has never been involved with before and needs help from other professionals, you can be sure that she will stand by closely observing and acquiring the knowledge she can use later. Britt has trouble describing a normal day, because she doesn’t have many normal days.

– What I really lack is enough time to do office chores.. I’d like to have more time in the office, actually, she smiles.

Determining the future

It is currently permitted to keep fish in land-based facilities until they weight one kilo. It may eventually be possible to raise then in land facilities all the time, but it would require huge facilities. For the time being, there is talk of extending the time the fish are in land facilities, before they are placed out in sea-based plants. One concept that much research is being done on, is the so-called semi-closed facilities on the sea. Many different varieties of this are being tested. In principle, these are closed units in the ocean, where water is pumped into the fish. The main objective of this is to reduce or avoid lice on the fish. I have been lucky enough to have been able to take test samples from these kinds of facilities. It is educational to get out and visit commercial producers, to get an insight into their everyday activities.

– What we are doing now is so exciting, because it is so highly relevant and interest in the industry is so keen.

In many ways she is partly determining the future of what is becoming one of Norway’s most important industries. At the same time she holds onto her fascination with what she is doing, and she thoroughly enjoys working with different kinds of professionals.

– It is always possible to learn new things and develop. That is what is most important for me in this job. The fact that I continually learn something new gives me great satisfaction.

MY CAREER PATH:

BRITT KRISTIN MEGÅRD REITEN (47)

LABORATORY TECHNICIAN, NOFIMA SUNNDALSØRA, NORWAY

1985 – 1988 : Upper secondary school, Surnadal

1988 – 1990 : Secondary education in aquaculture, Averøy

1990 – 1993 : Fish farm worker/technician Apodes as. (Recycled plant for eel production.)

1994 – 1997 : College degree in Aquatic Biology, undergraduate work in biology, Ålesund University College

1998 – 2000 Fish farm worker at Halsa Fish Farming AS, Halsa. (Sea-based facility for salmon production.)

2001 – 2007 Homemaker with responsibility for young children.

2008 – Research technician, Nofima Sunndalsøra

THE MOMENT THAT DEFINED HER CAREER:

Was tired of school after graduating from upper secondary school in Surnadal. Wanted to pursue a more practical profession and became a part of a rapidly advancing industry.