Aquaculture in Norway
Fish farming, or aquaculture, began in Norway in the early 1970s with the cultivation of Atlantic salmon in response to the world’s growing demand for access to healthy seafood.
In fact, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization agrees that aquaculture holds a crucial role in meeting the world’s demand for seafood. Today, Norway’s aquaculture industry ranks among the world’s leading programs.
Aquaculture methods in Norway have developed at a rapid pace over the nearly 40 years since large-scale farming began. Through close cooperation between scientists and fish farmers a growing number of other species are tested for their ability to be farmed—including cod and halibut.
To become the world leader in aquaculture, Norway has depended on a combination of strict health regulations, close safety monitoring and continuous work to develop the industry. This includes the more than $18 million fish farmers set aside annually—in addition to state investments—to fund research and development.
But the biggest asset in Norway’s aquaculture industry remains the excellent natural conditions. The country’s vast sea areas and more than 51,500 miles of coastline provide the perfect conditions for year-round seafood cultivation. Norway’s cold, crystal-clear protected waters provide optimum feeding conditions and excellent opportunities for fish growth.
Combining hard-earned experience and advanced technology, the Norwegian aquaculture industry is able to monitor and promote healthy fish growth and food safety at every step—from hatching to your dinner table. While in the past, there were concerns about the industry’s impact on the environment, advancements have eliminated many of those objections. For example, every farm must be licensed and operated in an environmentally appropriate location to avoid impact on the area and species supply. Other problems remain but have significantly declined in importance as the industry has evolved. Any infringements lead to severe sanctions.
All fish are handled with the utmost of animal ethics. This is important for both the fish and the consumer, as stressed fish result in poor-quality meat. Perfect growing conditions vary from species to species. For example, salmon are herd animals and therefore do not want to swim alone. However, the Norwegian aquaculture industry still ensures there is at least 97.5% of open water volume per pen to allow the salmon the freedom to grow to full size in a clean and natural environment.
Overall, the Norwegian seafood industry’s high standards of excellence and strict safety guidelines guarantee the health and comfort of every fish, from hatching through maturity—ensuring that consumers enjoy only the best-quality salmon available.