There was great agreement that there are many unanswered questions on an established problem, at the climate seminar at Nofima on Thursday 18 April. There were 70 participants from research, business, organisations and politics.

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Reidun Lilleholt Kraugerud  

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A poll among the audience revealed that 85 percent believe the aquaculture industry is already experiencing the effects of climate change, while only 12 percent believe the industry has the necessary information to handle these effects.

Jon Arne Grøttum from the Norwegian Seafood Federation, which has 900 member companies from the seafood industry, confirmed this to a large extent. He said that the aquaculture industry needs more knowledge to implement the right measures for climate adaption. He also said it’s time to incorporate climate considerations into the organization’s seafood strategies.

This pleases Elisabeth Ytteborg, who has researched the consequences climate change will have for farmed fish locally.

“That’s good! When the industry acknowledges the consequences of climate change, we can achieve something,” says Elisabeth Ytteborg at Nofima. She co-organized the conference with Carlo Lazado from Nofima and Lynne Falconer from the University of Stirling, and they plan to repeat it annually.

Ytteborg and Lazado are both fish health researchers at Nofima and have documented that higher temperatures will have several negative effects on fish health, especially on the salmon’s first line of defense in skin, nose and gills when swimming in cages with sub-optimal temperatures.

Many different stakeholders in the industry were invited to discuss climate in aquaculture. Photo: Nofima.

But there are several consequences of climate change, such as rising sea levels, more extreme weather events and so on. Climate change will also affect feed production, transportation, land production – generally speaking, all parts in the aquaculture chain. This is important to keep in mind, according to Ytteborg:

“If we simplify the problem too much, we risk missing important factors when developing adaptation strategies. That is one of the reasons why we chose to invite so many different stakeholders to this workshop. Complex problems must be highlighted from several angles,” she says.

Affects many species

“There is often talk about solving climate challenges with technology,” says Carlo Lazado, continuing: “But when we talk about technological solutions, we must nevertheless start with the biology of the fish”.

It is the fish that experience the high temperature changes, algae invasions, and extreme weather on their bodies.

“There are five hundred farmed species in the world. Each one is different. We need to do a lot of research on these species, but there is little funding to do this research,” Lazado says.

The EU is working on the issue

The workshop was also attended by the member organisation for aquaculture in Europe, the European Aquaculture Society (EAS). In Europe, far more species are farmed than salmon, including sea bream and sea bass in the Mediterranean. EAS confirms that climate change is on the agenda in European aquaculture:

“Right now, we are working to support the EU in providing guiding documents for member states and industry. One document relates to climate change adaptation. There we highlight the importance of data, i.e. data quality, format, sharing and so on, in order to accurately assess the scope and potential impact of adaptation measures,” says Alistair Lane. He finds the input from the workshop valuable:

“This workshop has been initiated by three experts who have found good ways to describe the challenges of climate in aquaculture. Input from multiple stakeholders in leading aquaculture countries can help us better understand some of the limitations and potential solutions to these problems”.

Needs expert panel

Finally: The University of Stirling encouraged participation in an expert panel to assess the industry’s capacity to adapt to climate change. Contact

About the workshop

  • Nofima and the University of Stirling arranged a workshop on climate change and aquaculture on 18 April at Ås, Norway.
  • The workshop aimed to raise awareness, discuss consequences and adaptation options, and what we should do in the future.
  • Send an e-mail to if you have questions or input for next year’s workshop

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