When I was involved in research on wild stocks of Atlantic salmon in the 1970’s, the total population of spawners ascending Norwegian rivers used to be approximately 5,000 tons or 1 – 2 million individuals, while the aquaculture production, which was dominated by rainbow trout, only amounted to a few hundred tons per year. Today, the wild stock has been gradually reduced and the farmed volume of salmon has reached 1 million tons annually. The running biomass of salmon in the cages along the Norwegian coast is thus at least 500 times the total wild stock.
The global production of salmonids is dominated by farming of Atlantic salmon in Norway, Chile, Scotland and Canada, while Chile also produces some 200,000 tons per year of Coho and New Zealand predominates the volume of farmed, highly valued Chinook/King salmon. Annual production of rainbow trout is about 600,000 tons. This Figure also indicates that the other salmon species, Pink, Chum and Sockey, are not – or to only a limited extent – farmed species. Though salmonids only comprise some 5% of global aquaculture fish production by volume, the value market share is several times higher, due to high price levels.
As a senior researcher in aquaculture in Norway since 1985, my emphasized fields have primarily been water quality vs. technology and management in tanks, cages and ponds, effluent loading and treatment, recirculation systems, and intensification of farming systems. I have also been involved in many research and consultancy projects in Norway (land and cage based systems for salmonids), Scotland, Asia (mainly brackish water shrimp culture in Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand), and in some other parts of the world. In other words, my aquaculture experience includes a variety of different aspects. Most of my working time has been connected to the salmon and trout industry and I look forward to describing up-to-date conditions and trends within this important sector of global aquaculture for the readers of Aquaculture Magazine.