To study fish behaviour, growth and welfare under conditions that are typical for exposed areas, and to study what occurs when fish are subjected to new operational systems adapted to exposed sea areas.

Research tasks

Biological needs: By identifying fish tolerance limits with respect to environmental factors that are typical of conditions in exposed locations, it is possible to define more closely the scope of those that will promote efficient production while at the same time maintaining acceptable levels of welfare. The results will be used to develop innovative techniques that reduce the influence of environmental conditions that exceed fish tolerance limits.

Welfare assessment: Scientifically-based methods for assessing fish welfare at exposed locations must be developed in order to ensure that the technical systems developed at this centre comply with Norwegian animal welfare legislation [42]. Similar work carried out for conventional aquaculture facilities [e.g., 37] is a starting point, which can be modified in accordance with any additional challenges that may arise at fish farms located in exposed areas.

Behavioural response: It is important to observe how fish will respond to the persistent sea and current conditions that may prevail at facilities located in exposed areas. Such conditions will result in variability in the production environment, such as the deformation of net pens and changes to the distribution of feed within the pens, and will introduce secondary effects whose impacts on fish behaviour must be studied. The results will form the basis for the development of fish handling strategies, technological equipment, and production methods that are better adapted to facilities located in exposed areas.

Industrial relevance

These activities will establish some of the guiding principles for the technological research being carried out in other research fields at the centre that must take fish behaviour into consideration as part of the development of their own systems.

Research Manager: Ole Folkedal (Norwegian Marine Research Institute, HI)