Kelp to ensure salmon sustainability

Atlantic Salmon. Photo by: Adobe Stock.
Atlantic Salmon. Photo by: Adobe Stock.

The salmon farms are well-known to take pressure off wild stocks but the penned fish produce a lot of waste which is concentrated at one location. This Norwegian experiment proposes raising salmon and kelp for positive feedback between them.

The idea is that the soluble contents of the feces and unconsumed feed from the salmon pens are largely absorbed by the seaweed, providing them with nutrients that can enhance their growth by as much as 50%. This may be particularly important at times of the year when natural nutrient levels in seawater are lower than average.

All the processes will be monitored, so it is expected to have diverse data about the health of the fish, their environment. etc. Moreover, it is hoped that the salmon will also benefit from the arrangement.

In this study, there are two players: salmon and kelp. Folla Alger and Cermaq are the companies related to salmon aspects of the project, while the SINTEF Ocean research group is responsible for the kelp.

In detail

The farm consists of 24 net pens, anchored in the ocean near the shore. These pens are linked together in groups of four, and those six groups are in turn connected to one another in a line, forming a rectangle when viewed from above. The two groups at the ends contain salmon and the four in the center contain seaweed.

The project is scheduled to run for six years, so for the first year of operation, the plan calls for about 1,500 tons of salmon and 100 tons of kelp. The expectation is to double the numbers for the second year and go on to the next ones.

Diagram. Photo by: Folla Alger

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