Data science helps Norway’s fish farmers keep salmon populations healthy

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By Milthon Lujan

Written by: Tanja Hoel*
Aquaculture is one of Norway’s most important industries. Our fish farms produce 65 percent of the world’s supply of Atlantic salmon and employ thousands of people in coastal communities.

At the Seafood Innovation Cluster, our mission is to help the industry grow and flourish while ensuring that fish stocks are managed responsibly, thereby protecting Norway’s sensitive marine ecosystems.

You might expect to find a tension between these economic and ecological goals, but the truth is that aquaculture’s long-term success depends on its sustainability. In many cases, what is good for the industry is good for wild salmon populations, too.

Meet the sea louse
Commercial fish farming in open net cages leads to increased numbers of susceptible hosts, and represents a potential risk of increased reproduction and spread of parasites. This poses a threat to the affected fish farms and to wild fish populations living in coastal areas.

Because salmon farms contain large numbers of potential host fish, they can be an ideal breeding ground for sea lice. If farmers don’t take the right actions to contain an outbreak, then the lice can spread to wild salmon populations, too. Looking at the economics alone, the direct cost of managing sea lice amounts to billions of dollars every year.

More information at: https://www.ibm.com/blogs/cloud-computing/2018/09/17/data-science-norway-fish-farmers/ 

*Source: Director, The Seafood Innovation Cluster, Norwegian Centre of Expertise

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