Aquaculture: Industry of innovation

Aquaculture: Industry of innovation

The Norwegian aquaculture industry thrives thanks to Norway’s spectacular natural landscape – the cold, clear waters of the Norwegian fjords provide the perfect conditions for farming fish.

Norwegian fish farming began in the 1970s, when we bred the first ever ocean-farmed Norwegian salmon in floating sea cages. Today, Norway continues to use its expertise in ethology, marine biology and technology to ensure food safety and the future of the industry. Strict measures have been put in place to ensure we allow the industry to develop while respecting surrounding ecosystems.

Caring for our fish

Our extensive experience, coupled with advanced technology, enables us to promote the healthy and safe development of our fish at every stage of the supply chain. Each farm must have a licence to operate and be located in an area that protects the environment and native stocks. We have strict criteria that farms must meet in order to obtain a licence:

Farms must be located in the open sea, in the cold and clear waters of our fjords, far enough away from maritime traffic areas.
The fish must have ample space to swim and grow in a clean environment. We guarantee at least 97.5% water to every 2.5% salmon.
Once approved, the production site must agree to being strictly and regularly monitored.
Between each farming cycle, farms are left to rest in order to preserve the natural environment. During this period, the seabed is closely monitored.
We restrict the number of farms to fewer than 750 per 28,953 km of coastline and licences are allocated sparingly to avoid excessive development.
All of our fish are treated with the utmost care – not only is it the right thing to do, stress actually affects the taste of the fish. There are heavy penalties for any farm in breach of our laws.

Becoming world leaders in aquaculture

Norwegian aquaculture methods have developed rapidly in the 40 years since our first salmon farms. Now, thanks to close cooperation between scholars and fish farmers, we are in the process of determining whether other species are suitable for farming, such as cod and halibut. Fjord Trout have developed in our advanced aquaculture methods, raised in net-pens in open water and fed formulated feed producing the highest quality fish.

To become a world leader in aquaculture, Norway has relied on its strict guidelines, close monitoring and sustained commitment to development. This includes an £14.5 million investment from the fish farmers each year (in addition to state investments) to fund research and development.

Sea lice

Sea lice exist naturally in the marine environment and sea lice affect both wild and farmed salmon, attaching to the skin, fins and gills of fish. While they do not pose any danger to human health, the welfare of our fish is always a priority.


Most of the time, the problem can be solved naturally by introducing a fish that feeds on lice, mechanical cleaning of the fish and the use of fresh water. If a high concentration of lice is found a veterinarian may prescribe specific products to help – but not without the approval of our authorities.

Our responsibility to the environment

Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. It’s fundamental to the existence and profitability of aquaculture and requires the collaboration of the authorities, research sector, fishermen and processors.

The Norwegian fish farming industry is subject to strict regulations. A constant objective of this policy is to minimise our environmental impact and keep the industry within sustainable limits. You can find out more about how we’re managing the environmental impact of aquaculture here.