Joint approach between scientists and industry to address challenges of closed-containment systems
Four Norwegian research institutions, two outside Norway and several industry partners from technology and the aquaculture industry have started operations at a centre for innovation in closed-containment systems. The centre, CtrlAQUA, has been given NOK 200 million and eight years to reach its goal of making closed-containment systems for salmon up to one kilogram.
Innovations in closed-containment, where the salmon is separated from the outside environment by a tight barrier, can be important for the further development of the industry, helping to address challenges such as sea lice, diseases and escapes, as well as reduce production times.
Closed systems can be land-based, where water is recycled, or sea-based, in which large floating tanks receive clean water from depth. In CtrlAQUA, the research will deal with both approaches.
The main focus of the centre is innovation in closed-containment systems for the most vulnerable periods of the salmon production cycle, such as the first sea water, post-smolt, phase.
The centre will also contribute to better production control, fish welfare and sustainability in closed-containment farms.This will happen through the development of new and reliable sensors, minimising environmental impact through recycling of nutrients and reducing the risk of escape, and diseases transmission to wild stocks.
Senior scientist Bendik Fyhn Terjesen, from Nofima, who is the director of the centre, said that closed-containment systems for salmon up to one kilogram have further advantages than simply preventing lice and escapes.
‘We can control the environment in which the fish lives in a closed-containment system. The environment is more stable and the fish
The environment is more stable and it” the fish use less energy adapting to
use less energy adapting to it.This means that the salmon has more energy available for growth and good health.’
Closed systems for strategic phases in salmon farming can help to make the Norwegian vision of an eight-fold growth in value creation from aquaculture possible, and lead to an increased number of jobs and the production of healthy seafood.
In the centre there will be three departments: technology and environment, led by Dr Fyhn Terjesen; preventative fish health, led by Harald Takle, also from Nofima; and fish production and welfare, led by Lars Ebbesson of Uni Research.
CtrlAQUA is one of 17 Centres for Research-Based Innovation (SFI), a major programme created by the Research Council of Norway.
The primary goal of the SFI programme is to strengthen companies’ capacity for innovation, and to develop leading industry relevant research.
Nofima is accompanied by five solid institutions in CtrlAQUA: Uni Research, the University of Bergen, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the Freshwater Institute in the US and the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.
The University of Bergen will have principal responsibility for research education at the centre.The total budget for CtrlAQUA will be NOK 196 million, spread over eight years.
Industrial partners from the supplier industry are Krüger Kaldnes AS, Pharmaq Analytiq, Pharmaq AS, Oslofjord Ressurspark AS, Storvik Aqua AS and Aquafarm Equipment AS.
Participants from the aquaculture industry are Marine Harvest ASA, Grieg Seafood ASA, Lerøy Vest AS, Cermaq Norway AS, Bremnes Seashore AS, Smøla klekkeri og settefiskanlegg AS, Marine producers Norway AS and Firda sjøfarmer AS.
The formal opening by the Research Council took place at the end of May at Nofima, Sunndalsøra. Norwegian fisheries minister Elisabeth Aspaker, present at the ceremony, said the goal of the CtrlAQUA SFI is perfectly compatible with the government’s ambitions for the aquaculture industry.
‘I have great expectations for the achievements of CtrlAQUA. Even though eight years is a long time, it is urgent that we find solutions to reach the goals. CtrlAQUA is an important part of this.’
The director of innovation in the Research Council, Eirik Normann, presented the SFI plaque to Fyhn Terjesen, saying: ‘You have put together a very strong consortium. I want to point out that the committee that evaluated the application was fascinated by the innovation that the concept brings with it, and it believes that the centre will probably produce important innovations within aquaculture.’
Above: Project participants at the centre’s opening. Right: CtrlAQUA scientists. Photos by Terje Aamodt/Nofima.