Norway turns to radical salmon farming methods

Photo: Hauge Aqua (

Photo: Hauge Aqua

Norway’s salmon producers are turning to radical farming techniques in the face of multiple threats to their industry.

From futuristic egg-shaped enclosures that bob in the water to supertanker-like structures submerged in the ocean, the Norwegian government is trying to counter increasing challenges in the form of sea lice, fish escapes and the shortage of suitable coastline for aquaculture. One of the big problems for salmon farmers in Norway, the world’s largest salmon producers, has been the rise of sea lice. A naturally occurring parasite that attaches itself to fish, the problem is not new, but it has become more serious as the lice have become more resistant to chemicals used to treat them. Norwegian salmon producers have increasingly turned from chemical treatments to mechanical means, such as washing salmon with fresh water or water heated to about 30C and treating the salmon with a soft brush, which has led to a rise in mortality rates. They have also been harvesting the fish before they are fully grown, which has meant that the country’s production volumes fell about 5 per cent in 2016.