Land-based fish farming has evolved a lot lately, and the Faroe Islands are at the forefront when talking about breeding large smolt.
However, breeding large amounts of good and large smolt on land over a long period of time in a Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) places great demands on breeders to ensure the health and well-being of the fish. This requires, for example, constant good water quality, good space and good handling that does not stress or damage the fish.
One frequently asked question in connection with large smolt is, therefore, how is the fish affected by being so long on land?
To answer this question, Fiskaaling will launch a health / welfare screening project. The plan is to take samples of fish (20 fish each time, every three weeks) from the fish at about 100 g until release.
There will be blood tests, gill tests and slime tests as well as samples from the viscera and other tissues, which are examined for a number of parameters that are commonly used as welfare indicators.
These are parameters that have an impact on ion regulation, metabolism, the endocrine system and the fish's immune system.
In addition, several parameters that directly relate to water quality parameters such as O2, CO2, TAN (Total Ammonium Nitrogen), nitrite, nitrate and TSS (Total Suspended Solids) are investigated.
All results are cross-compared and with the surrounding environment, such as water quality, biomass and feeding. With this type of comparison of all these parameters Fiskaaling aims to identify problems in relation to the well-being of salmon and to confirm how best to follow the development of the attempts to solve the challenges at hand.
It is almost equally important to confirm what is not a problem and possibly which studies do not adequately illuminate the situation. Such knowledge is important to hold on to what works and not to invest unnecessary energy and money on futile or misleading research.
It is therefore also of great importance for this project to succeed that the participating smolt stations are willing to provide information, such as measurements of water values, biomass, fish density, cage size, feeding rate, mortality and other items of significance.