Aquaculture Europe 2023

September 18 - 21, 2023


Add To Calendar 21/09/2023 14:45:0021/09/2023 15:00:00Europe/ViennaAquaculture Europe 2023NEW PRODUCTION SYSTEMS, NEW OPINIONS: EXPLORING PUBLIC PERCEPTION OF EMERGING AQUACULTURE SYSTEMSSchubert 4The European Aquaculture Societywebmaster@aquaeas.orgfalseDD/MM/YYYYaaVZHLXMfzTRLzDrHmAi181982


A. Gaspers*, A. Misund , D. Jensen, S. Sønvisen, T. Thorvaldsen

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




 Salmon ( Salmo salar)  aquaculture  is a n industry that has raised controversy and debate in Norway, Canada and Scotland

. The discourse surrounding the aquaculture industry includes  a wide array of environmental and socio -economic matters

 , which  can influence and shape public acceptance and trust in the industry.  In all the aforementioned countries , open net pens  sited along the coastline  has been  the primary production method of salmon. This production method is associated with several environmental risks , and despite being a relatively cost-efficient method , these challenges have hampered production growth.  As a result,  fish farmers are  exploring new technological avenues  that can reduce  the environmental impact and utilize new production sites. Exposed, closed floating cages and land-based aquaculture are among the  new production methods  that are being developed and used by fish farmers. However,  there might be potential drawbacks that can draw negative attention. On the other hand,  there could also be a dvantages that could increase willingness to pay (WTP) , trust and  the reputation of the industry .           

Th is study  will explore public perceptions of new aquaculture production systems, and the public’s willingness to pay for price premiums. The research question for this study is:  what, according to the public, are the most important advantages and drawbacks of different production systems, and are consumers willing to pay for salmon produced using these production systems?


 To investigate  public  perceptions of  new production systems and willingness to pay for salmon produced using these systems, w e  are conducting an experimental panel survey in the salmon-producing countries of Norway, Scotland, and Canada. The survey is in the process of being fielded by the international, online polling company, YouGov.

We first examine  how the public views conventional, land-based,  closed floating, and offshore aquaculture by asking them to rank a series of real-world advantages and drawbacks to each production system. We next  investigate their willingness to pay for salmon farmed using new production systems through a choice experiment where price is manipulated .  After receiving information about the benefits and drawbacks of the production system ( i.e., land-based, closed floating, or offshore) , respondents are asked if they would rather buy  salmon farmed using conventional methods or salmon farmed using the new production system. In Panel 1, the price for salmon farmed using the new production system is higher than the price for salmon farmed using the conventional system . In Panel 2 , the price for salmon farmed using  the  new production system is the same as the price for salmon farmed using the conventional system.  The survey design also includes  general questions regarding  attitudes towards conventional aquaculture, and what the respondents  perceive to be the most negative environmental externalities  from conventional aquaculture. 

 Once the results are ascertained  (in June 2023), they will be analysed using SPSS.


As of May-June 2023, the survey is in the process of being fielded, and the key results will be presented at the conference.

 We hypothesise that respondents will favour new production methods over conventional methods, but not at an increased price.

 Furthermore, we hypothesize that perceptions of conventional aquaculture will vary between the salmon producing countries;  with Canadian respondents being  more negative towards conventional aquaculture than Norwegian and Scottish respondents.

 We  also  expect to see differences in the level of public support for  the  new production systems  across countries. In Canada,  we expect  production methods that reduce the release of organic matter to receive the most public support whereas in Norway and Scotland  we expect  production methods that reduce lice and increase fish welfare to receive most public support.


This study is a part of the project “Compareit” . The project is financed by the Research Council of Norway, grant number 319647 .


Flaherty, Mark, Gregor Reid, Thierry Chopin, and Erin Latham. 2019. ‘Public Attitudes towards Marine Aquaculture in Canada: Insights from the Pacific and Atlantic Coasts’. Aquaculture International 27 (1): 9–32.

Osmundsen, Tonje C., and Marit Schei Olsen. 2017. ‘The Imperishable Controversy over Aquaculture’. Marine Policy 76: 136–42.

Weitzman, Jenny, and Megan Bailey. 2019. ‘Communicating a Risk-Controversy: Exploring the Public Discourse on Net-Pen Aquaculture within the Canadian Media’. Aquaculture 507 (May): 172–82.