Norway pioneered the development of salmon farming. Since the breakthrough of ocean based farming in the 1970s, Norway has kept its position as the world’s leading producer of farmed Atlantic salmon. Since 1998, Norway has more than tripled its production of salmon, to around one million ton. Today, 14 million meals made with Norwegian salmon are served every day.
The popularity of Norwegian salmon can be explained by the steady supply and the controlled food production. Unlike many other types of fish and food items, fresh salmon is available all year round. Seafood from Norway also has a good reputation for having safe food regulations and strict quality requirements. Norwegian aquacultureis regulated by comprehensive guidelines that ensure that the fish is of the highest quality and is safe to eat.
Farmed salmon start life in freshwater, with small yolk fry hatching from the eggs. After 8 to 18 months, the fry have grown into smolt of around 100 grams and are ready to be moved to seawater.
The smolt are usually set in large cages in the sea at sites where there is good water flow and favourable environmental conditions. In the sea the salmon grow from 100 grams to a weight of around 3.6 kilos, when it is ready to be slaughtered. This takes 12 to 18 months, depending on factors like the water temperature and the fish feed used.
For the fish to stay healthy, it is important to make sure that they have an optimal environment throughout the lifecycle. For example, salmon need fresh, oxygenated water, and the requirements in terms of water temperature, salinity and light change during the different life stages. Ideally, farmed salmon should grow to a sufficient size before they reach sexual maturity – otherwise the welfare of the fish farming sites may be affected.
Knowledge is key to good fish health, and there is a lot of research and development carried out about fish welfare, management in the fishing industry and development of technical solutions.
Sold fresh, frozen and smoked in slices, fillets or whole. Farmed salmon is sold all year round.
Atlantic salmon is especially rich in:
- Protein, building and maintaining every cell in the body.
- Marine omega-3 fatty acids that prevent and reduce the development of cardiovascular diseases, and which are important building blocks in the brain.
- Vitamin D, which is necessary to get the right balance of calcium in the body to maintain and strengthen the bones.
- Selenium, an important element in an enzyme that fights harmful chemical processes in the body.
More nutritional data can be found at www.nifes.no/en/prosjekt/seafood-data