Torskeyngel fra avlsprogrammet. Atle Mortensen

Production biology

The production biology department works with major challenges in the aquaculture industry, including salmon lice, escapes, animal welfare, sustainability and production optimisation.

Contact person
Portrettbilde av Hilde Toften
Hilde Toften

Research Director
Phone: +47 917 91 424

Nofima offers:
  • Passionate and skilled scientists and other personnel
  • Good facilities for experimental studies, in cages, recirculation facilities, flow-through facilities and other specialist laboratories
  • Studies at aquaculture facilities and field-studies
  • Test of new equipment and new technology
  • Biological documentation based on a broad spectrum of equipment and methods to analyse the physiology, behaviour and welfare of fish, together with methods in molecular genetics and histology.

Our scientists take a broad approach to problems that are important for both aquaculture and fisheries, and work with both applied and fundamental research.

Some of the most fundamental work we do involves working with sterile fish, where we develop and use advanced biological methods to sterilise fish. A great deal of in-depth research is needed to provide solutions that work in the long term. At the moment, our work in this field is focused on salmon, but the principle holds true for all species with which we work.

Applied research

We work closely with industry to solve its challenges, in fields such as new forms of production and new technology in the aquaculture industry.

Many companies want to document that new technology functions optimally and that it also considers the welfare of the fish. This applies to recirculation facilities and semi-closed facilities in the sea, farming equipment and various types of monitoring equipment.

We also work closely with the industry to optimise feed concepts and feeding in the sea, and to understand how the surroundings are influenced by aquaculture activity.

Nofima was recently awarded six R&D permits to develop new knowledge about salmon reproductive biology in order to be able to shorten production times in the sea. The work will lead to improved slaughter yields and new and important knowledge about the sustainability of marine oils, by studying the fat accumulation in different parts of the salmon throughout the production cycle in the sea.

New species

Scientist in the department have worked extensively with establishing aquaculture for new species such as cod, halibut, charr, king crab and sea urchins.

Many biological challenges have been solved and the extensive experience that our scientists have will be invaluable when working to develop farming of cleaner fish such as wrasse and lumpfish. Cleaner fish are used to reduce problems with lice in salmon cages, and in this way reduce the need for chemical lice treatment.

Some of our achievements

The cod breeding centre

The department is responsible for the Norwegian Cod Breeding Centre, just outside of Tromsø. This National Centre was established in 2002 and works to breed cod with better properties for farming than wild cod.

Nofima scientists have now produced a third generation of cultured cod that grows approximately 30% faster than wild cod, with minimal deformities.

Work at the cod breeding centre involves scientists also from the departments of Breeding and Genetics, and Fish Health.

This programme, and other projects, have enabled Nofima to develop excellent knowledge in breeding, reproduction, and the early life stages of fish. Combined with new methods and knowledge in molecular biology, this gives us important fundamental knowledge that is required to solve many of the challenges of the future.

Welfare and deformities

Scientists at Nofima were pioneers in putting fish welfare onto the agenda during the 1990s. We have contributed to developing new operational methods to understand and evaluate the welfare of various species.

Research carried out at Nofima has contributed to reducing the extent of injuries and deformities in the aquaculture industry and has helped develop and promote the use of Operational Welfare Indicators (OWIs) to quantify and improve the welfare of fish out on the farms.

Artificial bait

We have developed a new type of bait to be used by anglers and line fishermen. Our research has shown that 60 gram of this product is as effective as 1 kilogram of herring used as bait, and this may create more sustainable fishing.

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