Grieg Seafood is joining forces with several leading industry and research institutions in a push to develop low emission offshore aquaculture.
The 17- strong consortium says it aims to reduce the environmental impact of farming, and improve fish welfare, through innovations within offshore and closed technologies, biology, fish feed, electrification, digitalisation and logistics.
To help it lift off, the project is receiving NOK 96m (£8.2m) from the Norwegian Research Council.
Ragnar Tveterås, professor at the University of Stavanger, who is coordinating the consortium, said: “Offshore aquaculture has the potential to be a solution in a more sustainable global food system. However, there are many challenges to address before we get there. Industry and research institutions are now launching the largest ever effort to develop these solutions.”
Grieg says the aim of the project, Low-emission value chains for ocean-based aquaculture, is to deliver new knowledge and innovations enabling offshore aquaculture to contribute to lower carbon emissions, reduce the environmental footprint to protect marine biodiversity and optimize fish welfare. Offshore aquaculture also entails new challenges that must be solved, such as farming in harsh weather conditions.
Specifically, the project aims to deliver innovations in the following areas:
- Sustainable feed for underwater feeding offshore;
- Robust post-smolt in closed-containment facilities at sea;
- Electrification of offshore farming;
- Control systems for semi-autonomous offshore fish farms;
- Better fish welfare and increased survival;
- Improved logistics at sea; and
- Improved competence, knowledge and technology to develop environmentally, economically and socially sustainable value chains for offshore aquaculture.
Grieg Seafood will provide leading expertise within digital aquaculture to the project.
Parties engaged also include companies like Skretting, SalMar Ocean, Moreld Aqua, FishGlobe, Hauge Aqua and Blue Planet, as well as research institutions such as The Norwegian Veterinary Institute.
The Institute of Marine Research, NORCE, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, University of Bergen, University of Stavanger, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Simula, University of Melbourne and University of Florida.
Ragna Heggebø, Global R&D Manager of Grieg Seafood ASA (pictured, below) said “To Grieg Seafood, it is evident that our industry must reduce our footprint and improve fish welfare if we are to realize the growth potential we have in Norway through new areas and production methods.
She added: “A major push like this project, where research institutions and industry collaborate to find solutions, is exactly what we need.”