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  • Coping with new environments and production methods: Animal welfare and stress biology applied to modern fish farming

Coping with new environments and production methods: Animal welfare and stress biology applied to modern fish farming

StressChron Framework:

Project code 090
Role Partner
Research area Contributing to a more sustainable and animal welfare minded food production
Research topic Improving sustainability and animal welfare in aquaculture and husbandry
Vertebrate Fish
Species Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)


The research goal is focusing on safeguarding fish welfare throughout the production cycle, as well as understanding biological constraints and reaction norms in novel environments - for which the current production stock has not been selected. The ability of individual fish to adapt to and cope with changing production milieus is at the core of this topic. Focusing on individual variation in phenotypic plasticity and stress responses, the project aims at implementing state-of-the-art biological knowledge and methods into the development of welfare monitoring and documentation systems. Furthermore, the biological background for variable coping strategies and abilities in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) will be addressed by monitoring pedigreed family material of common heritage in both traditional aquaculture production and in novel environments. This will resolve genomic mechanisms vs environmental effects involved in robustness, and the explicit aim is to alleviate stress related production problems such as the development of growth stunted phenotypes and the occurrence of sudden stress-induced mortality at late phases in the production cycle.


Keywords: aquaculture, fish, welfare, stress, cortisol, scale

Funding: Research Council of Norway (RCN 267788)

Status: On-going


IMR – Havforskningsinstituttet (Kristiansen TS, Folkedal O, Nilsson J, Stien LH)

NIVA - Norsk Institutt for Vannforskning (Höglund E)

NMBU -Norges Miljø- og Biovitenskaplige Universitet (Øverli Ø, Våge DI)

Ghent University (Aerts J)

Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Aerts J)

Salmobreed AS (Ripman Seim R, Hillestad B)

Marine Harvest Norway AS (Trengereid H)


None at present

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