Norwegian Sea ecoregion – Aquaculture Overview
Aquaculture in Norway is governed under national legislation with social, economic, and environmental objectives.
Marine aquaculture relies on high quality environmental conditions. Facilities in the Norwegian Sea ecoregion are located in coastal areas, which are generally characterized as low nutrient environments. Aquaculture production is dominated by salmonids, which account for around 50% of national and 25% of global salmon production. Production of other finfish species, seaweed, and molluscs is low.
Salmon lice is the major issue for farmed salmon production, and it is also the major threat to wild salmon from aquaculture in the ecoregion. Reducing the occurrence of sea lice serves profitability, animal welfare, and the environment and is the main driver of aquaculture regulations in the region today. Genetic introgression between farmed and wild salmon is another major threat.
Aquaculture is an important industry for coastal communities in the ecoregion. In the past, industry growth has been governed by profitability concerns; currently, however, environmental concerns are governing aquaculture developments. Competing interests from other human activity sectors and recreational uses in coastal areas is changing the outlook for the industry.
Sustainable aquaculture growth requires innovative production technologies to reduce the environmental impact, development of sustainable feed ingredients for fish farming, and expansion and diversification to lower trophic organisms and fish species other than salmonids. Future aquaculture development should also consider the impacts of climate change and interactions with other human activities in the sea.
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