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Continued Work for Farmed Salmon Branding System

13 December 2012

NORWAY - The aquaculture industry is working to find a good system for marking and tracing farmed fish. Many factors must be clarified, and this is taking longer than originally anticipated. FHL has conducted its own studies, and researchers are looking at new and innovative solutions.

Aquaculture has a zero vision when it comes to escapes. Companies are working diligently to reduce the incidence of escapes to an absolute minimum, and many achieve clear vision year after year.

Through Environment Campaign in 2011 FHL announced further measures to prevent escapes. FHL also presented a plan to find ways to identify all fish are released in the sea. The industry wants a solution that allows the escapees and wild salmon to be easily be distinguished in the river, and that farmed fish can be traced back to the company it came from.

A main criterion is that the method should be common to all, and does not involve risk to the environment, animal welfare, food safety or the environment. The system must provide identification and must not be copied or misused. Reviews of labeling costs and possible value in the market must be taken into account.

"We talk about the labeling and tracking of an estimated 250 million fish annually, and it goes without saying that the costs must also be weighed against the benefits. Of the known solutions are cutting fin fat, a relatively simple method that is currently used on a small scale for research purposes and cultivation. FHL see this as one possible solution, but we take note that the government will not go for such a scheme in the short or medium term," says Fredd Wilsgård, deputy chairman of FHL.

"When it comes to tracking fish back to business, we have concluded that we must continue to work on solutions where one makes use of the fish's own "brands", such as DNA and trace elements. We will also continue to work to find a suitable method to distinguish fish in the river," said Mr Wilsgård.

"We are very keen to reach a robust and future-proof solution. This will take time, and means that FHL are unable to launch a complete system before the end of 2012. But here are some more forskningsløp which runs parallel with the industry's own utredinger. We are impatient to find an appropriate solution, and have every confidence that we will manage this challenge too," says Mr Wilsgård.

Several research groups have started marking and tracking projects for the salmon industry. This year seven ongoing projects in these fields in the direction of FHF (Fisheries and Aquaculture Research), which has set aside 17 million for the purpose. Aquaculture Industry Environmental Fund has also contributed funds to other works in progress

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