Recent consumer trends show that consumers are wanting more sustainable food. Norway is paving the way for sustainable aquaculture, as The Norwegian Seafood Council notes in its discussion of the state of aquaculture in Norway.

Representatives from The Norwegian Seafood Council relay current developments in Norwegian aquaculture.

The National Provisioner: What sustainability benefits does employing aquaculture offer Norway’s seafood industry?

The Norwegian Seafood Council: Norway is the world leader [in] responsibly farmed salmon, producing more than half of the world’s supply. Norwegian salmon producers rank at the top of the Coller FAIRR Protein Producer Index - the world’s only comprehensive assessment of the largest animal protein producers on environmental, social, and governance issues. 

As a major seafood nation that has been farming salmon for more than 50 years, Norway has a special responsibility to promote and pioneer sustainable practices in seafood production. 

  • Fifty years of experience has allowed Norway to find innovative solutions to lower carbon footprints, increase yields and improve fishing welfare.  
  • Norwegian salmon feed is completely non-GMO, free from antibiotics, and ingredients are sourced from certifiably sustainable sources and strictly controlled for unwanted substances. 
  • Norway enforces from mandatory pen sizes for farmed salmon raised in a ratio of 97.5% water vs 2.5% fish. The Norwegian seafood industry has strict regulations and high focus on food safety and transparency across the whole value chain – each fish has their own “fish passport” that you can track its life from smolt to packing. 
  • The soya, better known as soy, fed to Norwegian salmon is not only certified but also supplied by Brazilian vendors with 100% deforestation- and conversion-free soybean value chains. This means no soy grown on deforested land will be traded. In 2021, Norwegian farmers and feed producers announced they would go one step further and no longer buy soya from suppliers that sell soya grown on deforested land to other industries outside of seafood.  
  • All farms in Norway are required to implement a fallowing (no farming) period after each farming cycle. This allows the natural seabed to enter a recovery period. 

NP: How do wild caught fish and aquaculture intersect for Norwegian seafood producers?

The Norwegian Seafood Council: The people of Norway have a long, rich culture working and living by the sea for more than 1,000 years. While aquaculture was established around 50 years ago, Norwegians draw on centuries of fishing knowledge passed down through generations. Their intimate knowledge and respect for the sea are inherently part of their seafood industry practices, whether farmed or wild-caught. Norwegians are known for being pioneers, leaders and innovators who set industry standards for responsible aquaculture, wild resource management, sustainable fishing, processing and distribution practices.

For more information on wild-caught seafood from Norway, review this article: Why wild-caught Norwegian seafood is sustainable.

NP: Feel free to elaborate on any relevant background or trends around this topic.

The Norwegian Seafood Council: The latest Coller FAIRR Index report has ranked three Norwegian aquaculture companies as the most sustainable in animal protein producers in the world. Of just four companies identified by the index as being “low risk” against a number of factors demonstrative of sustainability, three are Norwegian aquaculture producers: Mowi, the world’s largest salmon farmer was No. 1, followed by Grieg Seafood at number two. Lerøy Seafood ranked fourth.

NP: How have supply chain challenges affected the Norwegian seafood industry’s aquaculture production, if at all?

The Norwegian Seafood Council: There have not been any major challenges impacting the Norwegian aquaculture production and supply chain. 

NP: How is consumer demand for seafood products influencing aquaculture production? 

The Norwegian Seafood Council: November 2022 was a record month for Norwegian salmon exports, which totaled 125,234 tons and NOK 10.1 billion. Overall seafood exports totaled NOK 123 billion, which is 29.2 billion more than the same period in 2021. This export value was the third highest ever in a single month and confirms the strong global demand for Norwegian seafood. 

The U.S. had the most significant increase in value this month, with an export value of NOK 431 million, or +87% compared to the same month last year. In terms of volume, Norway exported 6,393 tons of salmon, a +30% increase compared to the same month last year.