Pioneering measuring device honoured

The project to develop an instrument to measure the well-being of farmed fish has been awarded a NOK 25,000 prize from TTO Nord AS.

Nofima Marine in Tromsø, in collaboration with equipment manufacturer Thelma AS, developed technology to measure the well-being of farmed fish.

"We used to monitor the environment around farmed fish, but now we can ask the fish themselves how they are getting on. This is a pioneering innovation that we wish to honour," says Ragnar Brataas, an advisor at TTO Nord AS (Technology Transfer Office) in Tromsø.

The instrument, which is called SmartTag, is attached to several fish at a fish farm and registers the breathing patterns of the fish.

Stress level
The breathing pattern of a fish reveals something about its stress level. A stressed fish is more susceptible to diseases, grows slower and is of poorer quality.

Early warning enables breeders to quicker implement measures to improve fish welfare, which in turn means better profitability. Documented evidence of high levels of well-being among fish will be of great significance to consumers, who are making demands about the ethical production of food.

The system has a large potential international market.

Trial
A trial of the SmartTag system at a commercial fish farm is planned for the New Year along with the Institute of Marine Research’s expert system, "Welfaremeter", which measures the water environment.

"By comparing the breathing patterns of the fish with the temperature, salt content and oxygen level in the water at the fish farm, we can learn more about which external factors influence the stress level of fish," says Øyvind Aas-Hansen, a Scientist at Nofima Marine.

Innovation company TTO Nord AS, which is owned by central research institutions in Northern Norway, aims to contribute to the creation of inventions with commercial potential based on research implemented in Northern Norway.

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