Aquaculture Europe 2023

September 18 - 21, 2023


Add To Calendar 21/09/2023 16:30:0021/09/2023 16:45:00Europe/ViennaAquaculture Europe 2023WHAT INFLUENCES THE DEVELOPMENT OF NEW PRODUCTION SYSTEMS IN NORWEGIAN SALMON AQUACULTURE?Schubert 4The European Aquaculture Societywebmaster@aquaeas.orgfalseDD/MM/YYYYaaVZHLXMfzTRLzDrHmAi181982


T. L. Oftebro*, T. Thorvaldsen , A. V.  Strand, A. Misund , I . Ahlquist , R. Tiller

 SINTEF Ocean , Postboks 4762 Torgarden, NO-7465 Trondheim, Norway





 Norway is a leading producer of Atlantic Salmon ( Salmo salar) globally .  Despite ambitions of growth ,  production in conventional  sea-based fish farming is curbed by challenges such as salmon lice and escape of fish. Technological innovation is seen as key to  solving these challenges, and policies to  develop  new concepts for aquaculture  have  also been initiated by the government (Føre et al. 2022) . In 2023, t he Norwegian salmon aquaculture industry  is  becoming more technologically diverse with several new production systems including land-based, floating closed and semi-closed, and  open ocean  aquaculture systems emerging.

The objective of this study is to provide knowledge of industry actors’ perceptions of  key challenges and opportunities related to new aquaculture production systems in Norway . This knowledge is important for  regulation and  discussions  of what  influences  the  future development of the industry.

Materials and methods

T o  explore  industry actors’  perceptions of variables that influence the development of the  salmon  aquaculture industry in Norway,  Fuzzy Cognitive  Mapping (FCM)  was used as a key method .  The first FCMs were set up by the research group based on Vensim  diagrams  created during  interviews with a selection of industry representatives (fish farmers and organisations). Fish farmers represented different  production systems ,  and  the  interviews focused on  key challenges and opportunities  for each system,  as well as  key challenges related to  the regulation of new concepts. Following the interviews, the FCMs were made using the software Mental Modeler which was used in a series of workshops facilitated by the research group in the period 2021-2023 . R epresentatives from the same  companies as the interviewee s participated in the workshops.  The workshops  aimed at identifying key variables and evaluating their relation to other variables in the map.  Mental Modeler  is a software that allows us to show  how one variable directly affects another variable by drawing  arrows  between them during the discussions.


This presentation will include the FCM of more t han 30 variables seen as important by the industry actors, as well as  insight into the participants’  reasoning as to why and how key variables would affect other variables.

 In the initial workshops,  some  key variables were access to area , salmon lice , delousing ,  need for competent personnel and energy infrastructur e.  Discussions showed that all new  production  systems  needed suitable areas to grow and  that high salmon  lice levels are driving the technological development towards solutions that may solve this issue such as land-based . Furthermore, all  new technologies  require competent personnel  to operate the systems,  and a solid infrastructure for energy.

 Participants were concerned with geographical and seasonal differences in their discussions, for instance related to salmon  lice levels and delousing that will vary in different parts of the country and at different times of the year. Variables such as delousing were  seen as technology dependent, since there are several delousing methods that affect for instance fish welfare differently and new solutions are  continuously  being developed.

The workshops  were spread out in time ,  which allowed participants to make changes to the maps during the  project period. T he predictability  in framework conditions for the industry became highly relevant in September 2022, when the Norwegian government introduced a suggestion to a  new  resource rent tax (grunnrenteskatt)  for  sea-based aquaculture to  be  implemented from 2023.  The variable taxes and fees , that was not part of the maps from 2021-2022 was thus introduced in a workshop in the spring of 2023. Furthermore, the variable  political and regulatory predictability (both nationally and locally) was added. Both factors were seen as crucial for  variables such as willingness to invest and  economic results .


 The Norwegian aquaculture industry is  becoming more technologically diverse. Using FCM, this study  has identified relevant  variables  that industry actors think is important for the development of the  salmon fish farming industry . L ooking into the connections between  different variables allows us to discuss different scenarios that can be useful for industry , regulators, and researchers moving forward.


The study is a part of the project "Compareit ", a  collaborative project to meet societal and industry-related challenges conducted in close collaboration with key industry actors in the Norwegian aquaculture industry. The project is financed by the Research Council of Norway, grant number 319647.


Føre, HM., Thorvaldsen, T., Osmundsen, TC ., Asche, F., Tveterås, R., Fagertun, JT., Bjelland, HV.  (2022) Technological innovations promoting sustainable salmon (Salmo salar) aquaculture in Norway, Aquaculture Reports 24