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Cermaq awarded Fish Welfare Prize at Aqua Nor 2021

August 27, 2021  By Hatchery International Staff

From left: Managing Director of Cermaq Norway, Knut Ellekjær, member of the jury Brit Tørud from the Norwegian Veterinary Institute, and site manager at Holmvåg, Jan Robert Bell. Photo: The Norwegian Veterinary Institute

During Aqua Nor 2021, held in Trondheim, Norway, Cermaq has been recognized and awarded the Fish Welfare Prize from the Fish Welfare Forum, for its improvement work and the results it has reaped, which was developed at Cermaq’s fry plant Holmvåg in Steigen, Norway. These efforts have improved the quality and survival of the fry.

Cermaq’s fry facility, Holmvåg, specializes on the earliest stages of the salmon’s lifecycle, from roe to fry. The facility’s dedicated staff are continuously looking to improve fish welfare by observing start feeding fry behaviours, as well as adjusting tank hydrodynamics, feed distribution and water temperature.

“Good health and welfare for our fish is fundamental in all our work throughout our value chain across all companies in Cermaq,” said Knut Ellekjær, managing director of Cermaq Norway. “By observing the fry’s behaviour closely, we have been able to act and make adjustments that have given very good results,” continued Marit Mehus, fish health and freshwater manager in Cermaq Norway. “A result of these changes, is we now start with 5 per cent fewer roe grains, but still produce the same amount of fry at the facility.”

While the Holmvåg is by no means ‘new’, with the facility’s fish tanks dating back to the late ’80s, this has not presented as an obstacle for the staff to continue making improvements and providing impressive results.

“These results show that we can make important steps for improved fish welfare also on older facilities,” said Mehus. “What the staff at Holmvåg have done here is impressive and demonstrates how important their strong commitment to the fish.”

With the development project iFarm, Cermaq aims to continue improving fish welfare by using artificial intelligence and machine learning, identifying each fish in a net pen, and giving it individual follow-up.

The newly established Fish Welfare Prize is a collaborative platform for the Norwegian Veterinary Instituteand the Institute of Marine Research.

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