Charles Høstlund, CEO of Norway Royal Salmon.

Commercial triploids edge closer

Norway Royal Salmon (NRS) is currently awaiting approval from the Norwegian authorities to stock triploid salmon smolts into a number of northern sites. 

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The company was awarded nine green licenses in December 2014, and one of the conditions of these licenses is the production of sterile salmon. As a result, and due to the belief that triploids are likely to fare better in cooler sea temperatures, NRS is looking to implement the licenses in the north of Norway.

Although the Norwegian Food Safety Authority (FSA) has already granted NRS permission to grow triploid salmon in a number of approved freshwater facilities in a project that also involves the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) and MarinHelse, but the company still awaits final approval for release of these fish to sea.

The FSA’s website for evaluation of triploid production it says, among other things: “The Institute of Marine Research studies show that triploid salmon are more sensitive to low oxygen levels and high sea temperatures. IMR therefore recommend that the Norwegian Food Safety Authority requires documentation that the oxygen levels and temperature are good at the sites.”

“NRS's assessment is that our sites in Region North shall meet the requirements of temperature and oxygen levels,” says NRS’s CEO Charles Høstlund.

In a letter to FSA, IMR states that NRS’s triploids have a physiology that makes them well suited to be farmed in low seawater temperatures. In addition, IMR says that if triploid salmon shall be a part of Norwegian salmon farming, it’s key to gain knowledge from large scale commercial production. Supervising welfare of the triploids the main focus in the cooperation between IMR, NRS and MarinHelse.

“The project is designed for a close dialogue between fish-health expertise at MarinHelse and scientists at IMR, that will contribute to systematic good documentation in the production of triploid salmon,” says Høstlund.

However, if the company is not granted permission to release all smolts approved for production in freshwater plants, it warns that there will be lower growth in NRS’s production figures than planned in 2016.