Salmon, Atlantic (Farmed)
Production country — Norway
Production method — Open net pen
Salmon are farmed in open net pens in the sea. Producing fish in open systems can cause environmental impacts such as: impacts of chemical and sea lice treatment usage; nutrient and organic waste deposition; outbreaks of disease; impacts on wild salmonids by transmission of sea lice, and escapes from farms. Salmon are carnivorous fish and rely on wild capture fisheries to produce their feed, MCS would like to see all these fish certified as sustainably managed. Due to the ongoing nature of as yet unresolved environmental impacts of salmon farming MCS is advocating a halt in industry expansion until these can be resolved.
Criterion Score: 3
The ingredients that make up feed for Norwegian farmed salmon are responsibly sourced. In recent years the amount of fish contained in the diets has reduced and been replaced with vegetable proteins and oils.
Criterion Score: -4
The use of chemicals and antibiotics in Norwegian salmon farming remains a concern. Although antibiotic use has reduced considerably there remains a concern regarding those critical for human health. The use, and loss of efficacy of sea lice treatments and their wider impacts on other marine life needs urgent mitigation. Of equal concern is the risk of disease and parasite transfer to surrounding wild salmonid species and the subsequent impact this is having. Escapes remain an issue and the subsequent interaction with wild salmonid species, predator control, including by lethal measures is also a cause for concern.
Fish Health and Welfare
Criterion Score: 1
Welfare standards, including those for human slaughter are included in the Animal Welfare Act.
Criterion Score: 1
The regulation and management of the Norwegian salmon farming industry is mostly effective however as there remains a large sea lice and escape event issue it cannot be assessed as being wholly effective. Many producers are certified to recognised production standards or our working towards them.
Open net pen
Salmon are farmed in open net pens in the sea. These are floating cages suspended in the sea and held in place by moorings underneath the cages.
Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 2 and below are included as an alternative in the list below. Click on a name to show the sustainable options available.Anchovy, anchovies
Herring or sild
Salmon, Atlantic (Farmed)
Salmon, Chinook, King Salmon
Salmon, Chum, Keta, Calico or Dog salmon
Salmon, Coho , Silver, White
Salmon, Pink, Spring , humpback
Salmon, Sockeye , Red Salmon, Bluebacks, Redfish
Scad, Horse Mackerel
Tuna, Atlantic bluefin (Caught at sea)
Salmon are termed “anadromous”, meaning during their lifecycle they move between fresh and marine waters; salmon farming attempts to mirror this lifecycle. Broodstock fish are moved to freshwater for spawning, where the eggs are also fertilised and hatched. The hatched fish (called fry) are also kept in freshwater and fed pellets manufactured from fish meal. At about 18 months the fish (now called smolts) are transferred to seawater cages where growth continues until market size is reached, usually at about 2 years.
ReferencesAaen S & Helgesen K. et al. 2015. Drug resistance in sea lice: a threat to salmonid aquaculture. Trends in Parasitology, Volume 31 , Issue 2 , 72 - 81.Available online at:https://www.researchgate.net/publication/271707505_Drug_resistance_in_sea_lice_A_threat_to_salmonid_aquaculture.
Bonsaksen E. 2014. Challenges and Potential of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council Standard in Salmon Fish Farming Case: Marine Harvest Group - Norwegian University of Science and Technology Department of Industrial Economics and Technology Management. Available online at:https://brage.bibsys.no/xmlui/bitstream/handle/11250/235657/746143_FULLTEXT01.pdf?sequence=2.
Cardia F, Lovatelli A. 2015. Aquaculture operations in floating HDPE cages: a field handbook. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper No. 593. Rome, FAO. 152 pp. Available online at: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4508e.pdf.
EC. 2016. European Commission Staff Working Document: On the application of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) in relation to aquaculture - Brussels, 18.5.2016 SWD (2016) 178 final. Available online at: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/marine/pdf/SWD_2016_178.pdf.
FAO. 2018. Atlantic Salmon Feed Production. Available online at: http://www.fao.org/fishery/affris/species-profiles/atlantic-salmon/feed-production/en/.
FAO. 2018. Fishery and Aquaculture Statistics. Global aquaculture production 1950-2016 (FishstatJ). In: FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department [online]. Rome. Updated 2018. Available online at: www.fao.org/fishery/statistics/software/fishstatj/en.
Fiskeridirektoratet. 2018. Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries - Aquaculture. Available online at: https://www.fiskeridir.no/Akvakultur.
Forseth et al. 2017. The major threats to Atlantic salmon in Norway - ICES Journal of Marine Science (2017), 74(6), 1496-1513. doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsx020 Available online at: https://academic.oup.com/icesjms/article-pdf/74/6/1496/19178628/fsx020.pdf.
Glover KA, Solberg MF, McGinnity P, et al. 2017. Half a century of genetic interaction between farmed and wild Atlantic salmon: Status of knowledge and unanswered questions. Fish Fish. 2017; 00:1-38. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/faf.12214.
Hjeltnes B, Born G, Jansen MD, Haukaas A, Walde C (Eds.). 2017. The Health Situation in Norwegian Aquaculture 2016 - Norwegian Veterinary Institute 2017 https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=www.vetinst.no:fiskehelserapporten/Fiskehelser+apporten&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8.
Husa V, Kutti T, Ervik A, Sjtun K, Hansen PK, Aure J. 2014. Regional impact from fin-fish farming in an intensive production area (Hardangerfjord, Norway), Marine Biology Research, 10:3, 241-252, DOI: 10.1080/17451000.2013.810754 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/17451000.2013.810754?needAccess=true.
Jones PG, Hammell KL, Dohoo IR, Revie CW. 2012. Effectiveness of emamectin benzoate for treatment of Lepeophtheirus salmonis on farmed Atlantic salmon Salmo salar in the Bay of Fundy, Canada - Dis Aquat Org 102: 53-64, 2012 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/233840195_Effectiveness_of_emamectin_benzoate_for_treatment_of_Lepeophtheirus_salmonis_on_farmed_Atlantic_salmon_Salmo_salar_in_the_Bay_of_Fundy_Canada.
MBA. 2017. Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Assessment of Atlantic salmon cultured in Marine Net Pens in Norway https://www.seafoodwatch.org/-/m/sfw/pdf/reports/s/mba_seafoodwatch_farmednorwaysalmon_report.pdf.
NMTIF. 2017. Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industries and Fisheries - Presentation: Aquaculture and Innovation in Norway - Yngve Torgersen, Director, Dept. of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Victoria BC Canada, 11.10.2017 https://bcsfa.sharepoint.com/:p:/r/_layouts/15/WopiFrame.aspx?docid=1831f51598fd94e5b87e9463c96b46ece&authkey=ATfX6yWT5N4TVvKyXr7QqOs&action=view.
NMTIF. 2015. Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industries and Fisheries - Norwegian salmon farming: predictable and environmentally sustainable growth - Publication number: W-0010 E https://www.regjeringen.no/contentassets/e16872de15804dbb9a94261042f29245/havbruk_handout.pdf.
NORM/NORM-VET 2016. Usage of Antimicrobial Agents and Occurrence of Antimicrobial Resistance in Norway. Troms / Oslo 2017. ISSN:1502-2307 (print) / 1890-9965 (electronic) https://unn.no/Documents/Kompetansetjenester,%20-sentre%20og%20fagrad/NORM%20-%20Norsk%20overvakingssystem%20for%20antibiotikaresistens%20hos%20mikrober/Rapporter/NORM%20NORM-VET%202016.pdf.
NSACS. 2017. Norwegian Scientific Advisory Committee for Atlantic Salmon annual report; Status of wild Atlantic salmon in Norway http://www.vitenskapsradet.no/Portals/vitenskapsradet/Pdf/Status%20of%20wild%20Atlantic%20salmon%20in%20Norway%202017.pdf.
Peron G, Mittaine JF, Le Gallic B. 2010. Where do fishmeal and fish oil products come from? An analysis of the conversion ratios in the global fishmeal industry. Marine Policy 34 (2010) 815-820. https://www.academia.edu/20508533/WheredofishmealandfishoilproductscomefromAnanalysisoftheconversionratiosintheglobalfishmealindustry?auto=download.
Pettersen JM, Osmundsen T, Aunsmo A, Mardones FA, Rich KM. 2015. Controlling emerging infectious diseases in salmon aquaculture - December 2015 in issue 34 (3) of the Scientific and Technical Review https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/f45c/c5ce95de8872f1f889a5b8df1bb494f4b148.pdf.
Price C, et al. 2015. Marine cage culture and the environment: effects on water quality and primary production. Aquaculture Environment Interactions, Vol. 6: 151-174, 2015 https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/d846/cf37b439df88b6f26c2262861b6af0bd78ac.pdf SalMar. 2018. Norwegian organic salmon- farmed, processed and sold by SalMar https://www.salmar.no/en/norwegian-organic-salmon-farmed-processed-and-sold-by-salmar/.
SalmonBusiness. 2017. These are the world''s 20 largest salmon producers - News by Aslak Berge - 30 July 2017 http://salmonbusiness.com/these-are-the-worlds-20-largest-salmon-producers/.
SalmonFacts. 2018. Escaped Fish https://salmonfacts.com/salmon-and-environment/escaped-fish/.
Skaala, Sjtun K, Dahl E, Husa V, Bjrge A, Uiblein F. 2014. Interactions between salmon farming and the ecosystem: Lessons from the Hardangerfjord, western Norway, Marine Biology Research, 10:3, 199-202, DOI: 10.1080/17451000.2013.840730 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/17451000.2013.840730?needAccess=true.
Skretting. 2018. Is fish feed sustainable? Skrettingas feed ingredients sourcing policy. https://www.skretting.com/en-AU/faqs/is-fish-feed-sustainable/ Tacon AGJ, Metian M. 2008. Global overview on the use of fishmeal and fish oil in industrially compounded aquafeeds: Trends and future prospects. Aquaculture 285 (2008) 146-158. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S004484860800567X.
Taranger GL, Karlsen, Bannister RJ, Glover KA, Husa V, Karlsbakk E, Kvamme BO, Boxaspen KK, Bjrn PA, Finstad B, Madhun AS, Morton HC, Svasand T. 2015. Risk assessment of the environmental impact of Norwegian Atlantic salmon farming, ICES Journal of Marine Science, Volume 72, Issue 3, 1 March 2015, Pages 997-1021 https://doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsu132.
Thorstad EB, & Finstad B. 2018. Impacts of salmon lice emanating from salmon farms on wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout. NINA Report 1449: 1-22 https://www.salmon-trout.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Thorstad-Finstad-2018-Impacts-of-salmon-lice-NINA-Report-1449-2.pdf.
UCN. 2017. Norwegian salmon regulation on schedule for October Undercurrent News March 9, 2017 https://www.undercurrentnews.com/2017/03/09/norwegian-salmon-regulation-on-schedule-for-october/.
Vollset KW et al. 2018. Disentangling the role of sea lice on the marine survival of Atlantic salmon - ICES Journal of Marine Science (2018), 75(1), 50-60. doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsx104 https://academic.oup.com/icesjms/article/75/1/50/3867702.
Ytrestyl T, Synnve T, Torbjrn asgard T. 2015. Utilisation of feed resources in production of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in Norway - T. Ytrestyl et al. / Aquaculture 448 (2015) 365-374 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0044848615300624.