Nofima in research collaboration across the North Sea

Nofima and the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) have entered a strategic research collaboration (SCR) to work together on projects of mutual interest.

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A Letter of Intent setting out shared objectives and goals for an initial period of three years was signed during a visit by personnel from SAIC and the University of Stirling to Nofima’s head office in Tromso in early February.

Nofima’s Aquaculture Director Nils Haga comments: “Scotland and Norway are two of the most dominant and dynamic forces in aquaculture. Now, thanks to the new SRC, we can combine our visions, expertise and resources to make even more significant advances in the challenges that are common to the fish-farming industries in our two countries and in Europe.”

Examples of common challenges are controlling sea lice, developing sustainable feeds and preventing fish disease. The fish-farming industries in Scotland and Norway are also to a large extent parts of the same ownership structures, and it is important for industry‑oriented research institutes such as Nofima to follow up these structures internationally, extending in this way its research network.

Commenting on the new collaboration, SAIC CEO Heather Jones added: “This is a must-seize opportunity for SAIC to join forces with one of Europe’s leading names in aquaculture research and deliver real competitive advantage to the industry. The new SRC will enable us to forge a close working relationship with Nofima, access an even broader range of competencies[, and explore possible avenues of funding together.”

Haga also sees this SCR as an opportunity to raise the international profile of research on farmed salmon, and gives an example: “Recently Nofima carried out research on salmon genes and pancreatic disease in parallel with the Roslin Institute in Scotland, and with each of our international industrial partners. It wasn’t long before we were collaborating in the research and obtained even more significant results than we would have if we had continued working separately. Not least, disease is one of the challenges that we have mutual interest in solving on both sides of the North Sea.”

SAIC will be involved in the Nofima-chaired ZERO LICE workshop at the North Atlantic Seafood Forum (NASF) meeting on 1 March in Bergen. In addition, Nofima has been invited to participate in SAIC workshops at AquacultureUK on 25 & 26 May in Aviemore.

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