Norway plans for economically, environmentally and socially sustainable growth in aquaculture. (Photo: Anne Ditlefsen, Research Council of Norway/FIS)
Research Council puts emphasis on sustainable aquaculture
Thursday, February 03, 2011, 23:20 (GMT + 9)
The amended work plan for the Research Council programme Aquaculture – An Industry in Growth (HAVBRUK) focuses on sustainability and ecology. Funding for public research will go towards producing further knowledge regarding the societal aspects of the growing aquaculture sector, said the Research Council of Norway.
Even though Norway currently leads the world in the production and export of salmon and rainbow trout, as well as being a vital supplier of aquaculture knowhow, technology and equipment, it makes up a measly 1.7 per cent of the total aquaculture production volume. The programme’s vision thus has lofty ambitions – to make Norway the world’s leader in fish farming.
For the remainder of the HAVBRUK programme through 2015, the main goal is to gain knowledge to achieve economically, environmentally and socially sustainable growth in the country’s aquaculture.
The revised work plan came about thanks to a comprehensive process involving industry and government players. It includes the priorities of the Government’s Strategy for an Environmentally Sustainable Norwegian Aquaculture Industry plus current research findings.
Last December, the Research Board of the former Division for Strategic Priorities approved the work programme.
|Allocations under the HAVBRUK programme for the 2006-2010 period (Graph: Research Council of Norway)
Aquaculture’s foremost challenge right now is achieving sustainability: sea lice, pollution and farmed fish escapes are issues to be dealt with if the industry is to move forward and spread out, the Research Council said.
The Research Board noted that the inclusive and broad process that bred the revised work programme has helped to raise awareness about the issues and increased readiness to generate new understandings.
“The time is ripe for stepping up research efforts and clarifying the division of responsibility between the public and the private sector,” affirmed Research Board member Paul Birger Torgnes, who has ties to the aquaculture industry.
Six thematic priority areas come with the new work programme:
- Sustainable seafood production
- Healthy fish
- Feeds of the future
- Other production species
- Environmentally friendly aquaculture methods
- Genetics and selective breeding
The revised work programme highlights sustainability and environmental relevance in all the above areas and the challenges regarding climate change. More energy will also go toward research on social science research expertise.
After the Research Council’s recent reorganisation, the HAVBRUK programme now falls under the jurisdiction of the Department for Environmental Research and Marine Resources under the Division for Energy, Resources and the Environment.
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