The increase in low trophic aquaculture (LTA) production is a way to contribute to the sustainability goals that Norway has as part of its national aquaculture plan.
This production is currently a very small percent of the overall aquaculture production in Norway which is dominated by salmon farming.
Nevertheless, LTA contains many promising outcomes in terms of having a low carbon footprint, a biomass that is under exploited but technically available, and overall a greater sustainability than higher trophic aquaculture.
The fledgling LTA industries are not well regulated yet and many LTA producers are facing similar challenges regardless of the species cultivated. In Norway there is a very active and efficient network to support macroalgae stakeholders in the form of the Norwegian Seaweed Association, but currently there is no network addressing all the actors across species and production systems.
This highlights the need in Norway to have a Low Trophic Aquaculture network that addresses all LTA species.
Especially since the various LTA industries often share the same problem regarding national plan, legislation, permitting, and cost.
A network gathering all LTA species is a great way to increase collaboration, encourage exchange of information and ideas and discussion and create synergies for all actors in the LTA domain.
As result of the NoLTANet project, a workshop on low trophic aquaculture was held in Tromsø in January 2023.
The workshop was a very useful forum to gather the broad range of industries and stakeholders working on low trophic aquaculture.
The format of the workshop was a combination of presentations and panel debates, and most participants found this approach useful to generate helpful and relevant discussions.
It also set this meeting apart from other meetings that focus on specific themes (e.g. only macroalage) or those run more as a conference with presentations but no opportunities for open discussion.
Based on the needs and the success of the workshop, Nofima took the initiative to create the first Low Trophic Aquaculture network and will hold a similar event every year in January in Tromsø.
To facilitate exchange between the network participant, a Teams room has been created where different information is findable (presentations from workshop, white paper, upcoming event, etc).
The chat functionality allows discussion between participants through out the year and encourage collaboration and support.