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Researchers Develop Norwegian Salmon Farming Sustainability Index

04 December 2015

NORWAY - Nofima has been commissioned by the Norwegian Seafood Research Fund (FHF) to develop a sustainability index for Norwegian salmon aquaculture.

“In Norway, we often focus rather exclusively on the environment, and specifically on a few environmental indicators, when we discuss sustainability within aquaculture. Economic and social considerations are seldom included. This is why we want to contribute to constructing a single comprehensive sustainability analysis that indicates how the Norwegian aquaculture industry is doing with respect to sustainability,” says Geir Andreassen, Managing Director of the Norwegian Seafood Research Fund.

The extended concept of sustainability that includes both economic and social aspects – in addition to environmental – will form the basis of the project. Social development, employment, efficient use of space and resources, and economic development will all be included.

“This is challenging work. One of the greatest challenges will be to identify the central criteria and indicators that describe environmental, economic and social sustainability in Norwegian salmon aquaculture. The work will look at many criteria and indicators, and it is important to use the correct ones. This is why we have spread the net wide when canvassing opinions. We must have relevant indicators that can be understood, and that are accurate and reliable. They will have little value if this is not the case,” says Otto Andreassen, Senior Scientist at Nofima.

Experts from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the University of Stavanger and SINTEF have been invited to participate in the first phase of the project. Observations and opinions from other expert groups and the environmental movement will also be included.

“We must include other dimensions of sustainability. International and Norwegian guidelines now state that sustainability is to be based on three pillars: environmental, economic and social sustainability. Without satisfactory development for all three pillars, society in general will not be able to experience sustainable development,” says Kine Mari Karlsen, Senior Scientist at Nofima.

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