‘Manual’ for raising happy, healthy fish guides Cermaq
Cermaq says it is raising its fish according to the recommendations of Fishwell, a research project that has come up with a tool for farmers to help them assess the welfare of farmed salmon in various production systems.
Examples of welfare indicators include appetite, the fishes’ behaviour, physiological status, gill condition, fin damage, skeletal status, temperature, and water flow rate.
Cermaq says it has used FishWell’s recommendations to enhance fish welfare throughout its operations. “Cermaq wants its fish to thrive, grow and be healthy. A fish with good welfare is healthier, performs better and ultimately has better quality, which is essential for the productivity and sustainability of Cermaq’s farming operations,” the salmon and trout farmer said in announcing its new fish welfare policy.
The company believes however that individualized farming, where fish are monitored and treated individually, will be the “real change maker” in aquaculture. It is developing a technology, called iFarm, to achieve this goal.
“iFarm, when developed, can measure the external fish health and welfare parameters presented in FishWell. By sorting and treating individual fish, the welfare for all fish in the pen will increase and mortality rates will be dramatically reduced,” says Cermaq R&D Director Olai Einen.
The FishWell project is a collaboration between the food research institute Nofima, the Institute of Marine Research, the Norwegian Veterinary Institute, Nord University in Bodø and the University of Stirling in the UK and the Norwegian Seafood Research Fund. The 328-page manual was scheduled for publication this August/September.