Aquaculture in the high north in times of change - Sustainability in an age of climate change


  • 13:00 KEYNOTE: Sustainable aquaculture in northern Europe under Climate Change
    Authors: Michaela Aschan ( UiT The Arctic University of Norway ); Elisabeth Ytteborg ( Nofima )

    Climate change happens at a faster rate than predicted. The temperature increases, extreme weather events intensify, and the ocean pH declines. In a world where the demand for food is constantly increasing, climate change threatens the overall food production and limits the growth potential. Aquaculture is expected to increase and serve as one of our main sources of food, and species farmed in the oceans are exposed to climate change; the question is how to adapt to these changes. How can the industry prepare for the climate change that is coming, and how can they reduce negative effects while at the same time exploiting possible positive outcomes?

    In this paper we briefly present the history of aquaculture in the north, identify the main threats and opportunities caused by climate change, and look at future prospects. We identify the most vulnerable species and countries when it comes to aquaculture production in Europe and present preliminary forecasts for case studies in marine and freshwater aquaculture in the Arctic. These forecasts allow for risk assessments and preparation for climate adaptation. Farmers view on current problems and future challenges and opportunities related to climate changes will also be presented. It is the responsibility of each nation to develop climate adaption plans to prepare also the aquaculture industry for climate change, but not all counties have such plans.

    The EU financed H2020 project ClimeFish, Co-creating a decision support framework to ensure sustainable fish production in Europe under climate change, aim at estimating the effects of climate change on fisheries and aquaculture in Europe from today until 2050. To forecast production, we use two climate scenarios from the International Panel of Climate Change (IPCC), RCP4.5 and RCP8.5, and simulate the future of 15 cases, including some of the least resilient and the most important fish species in Europe. The outcome of the project will help to improve decision making for a sustainable aquaculture in Europe in the future.


    For more information and Twitter @climefish, or contact us at

  • 13:30 Impacts of climate change on the prospects for macroalgae cultivation in Northern Norway
    Authors: Ole Jacob Broch ( SINTEF Ocean ); Ingrid Ellingsen ( SINTEF Ocean ); Aleksander Handå ( SINTEF Ocean ); Dag Slagstad ( SINTEF Ocean )

    Although Norwegian aquaculture production is dominated by Atlantic salmon there is currently great interest in the cultivation of marine macroalgae, in particular kelps. According to the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries there were 108 licences for macroalgal cultivation awarded in Nordland as of December 31, 2016. Despite many potential areal conflicts with fisheries, aquaculture, fareway and tourism, there is a great potential for cultivation of macroalgae in Northern Norway. Some reports (the DKNVS scenario report) have indicated a 3 to 5 time increase in Norwegian aquaculture output, with a value increase from 1.2 billion NOK today to almost 40 billion NOK of the macroalgae industry by 2050. At the same time global atmospheric temperature will continue to increase, with a further amplification in the Arctic and Northern regions. In this perspective, it is of interest to investigate what, if any, the effects of increasing air temperature will have on the prospectives and potential for macroalgal cultivation in Norther Norway.

    In this talk we investigate such questions by using a coupled physical-biological ocean model system (SINMOD) enhanced with modules for macroalgal growth and production for the coast of Nordland and Southern Troms. Scenarios including the present situation (as it is today) and with increased temperatures will be described.  Both direct effects of increased temperature and secondary effects like the timing of the phytoplankton spring bloom and hence the availability of nutrients on physiological responses will be considered.  



  • 13:45 Small creatures, big trouble - do jellyfish induce aquaculture losses in arctic fjords?
    Authors: Claudia Halsband ( Akvaplan-niva ); Sanna Majaneva ( UiT The Arctic University of Norway ); Aino Hosia ( University Museum of Bergen ); Per-Arne Emaus ( Akvaplan-niva ); Frank Gaardsted ( Akvaplan-niva ); Qin Zhou ( Akvaplan-niva ); Ole Anders Nøst ( Akvaplan-niva ); Paul E. Renaud ( Akvaplan-niva )

    Blooms of jellyfish are becoming more common in many marine ecosystems worldwide, including the Nordic Seas. Despite rising concern, there is insufficient research into how this will impact the structure and function of marine ecosystems, or Norway's maritime industries, including aquaculture, a cornerstones of Norway's national economy and social development. Jellyfish can cause high mortality of farmed fish and hence significant economic losses for the aquaculture industry, but scientific documentation of this and regional economic loss statistics are sparse. On the other hand, jellyfish do provide ecosystem services: they are food for fish and other organisms, enhance the biodiversity of marine ecosystems, and are a source of bioactive compounds for the medical industry. Despite their socio-economic importance, distribution and diversity data on gelatinous plankton are scarce from Nordic marine systems, and jellyfish are not mentioned in most national and international marine management frameworks.

    Intense blooms of jellyfish have repeatedly been observed in Ryggefjord, Finnmark (Norway), sometimes concurrent with severe health problems of salmon. Here, the jellyfish community of this fjord was studied in summer 2015. In July, at least 13 species were identified using a combination of morphological and molecular techniques. High densities of small Beroe spp. and ctenophore larvae in cydippid stage dominated the surface waters. Adult Beroe cucumis were also present. Molecular identification revealed the presence of juvenile Euphysa tentaculata, as well as two species of Clytia and Obelia, respectively. O. longissima was identified from both its pelagic (medusa) and benthic (polyp) stages, suggesting that some local populations can complete their entire life cycle in the fjord. Fish farms may in fact provide substrate for the benthic life phase and thus contribute to bloom formation. Location within the fjord and prevailing wind direction had significant influence on jellyfish abundances. A dense bloom of the hydrozoan Dipleurosoma typicum in September coincided with high mortalities of farmed fish, suggesting a causal relationship. Polyps of this species are obscure and have not yet been located. We conclude that the jellyfish assemblage in Ryggefjord is dynamic on short time scales and structured by both oceanographic conditions and local reproduction. A better understanding of seasonal population development and the relationships between hydrography, abundance and species composition is required to develop mitigation strategies for aquaculture operations.

  • 14:00 The importance of current and environmental variability for dispersion of waterborne pathogens along the Norwegian coast
    Authors: Lars Asplin ( Institute of Marine Research ); Ingrid A. Johnsen ( Institute of Marine Research ); Bjørn Ådlandsvik ( Institute of Marine Research ); Anne D. Sandvik ( Institute of Marine Research ); Jon Albretsen ( Institute of Marine Research ); Mari S Myksvoll ( Institute of Marine Research ); Jofrid Skardhamar ( Institute of Marine Research )

    The Norwegian salmon aquaculture produce 1 million tonnes of salmonid fish annually at almost 1000 fish farms located along the 2000 km long Norwegian coastline. The number of individual fish is more than 200 million, which is significantly higher than the wild salmond fish stock (2-5 million individuals).

    Although the farmed fish are monitored and treated for parasites and diseases, a substantial amount of waterborne pathogens are being released from the fish farms to the natural ecosystems. The Norwegian authorities has decided recently that the growth of the salmon aquaculture will be based on sustainability of the wild ecosystems, and at present the infection pressure of salmon lice from farmed to wild fish is the most critical measure of sustainability.

    To estimate regional distribution of pathogens with high resolution in time and space, we use a combined set of numerical models. A high resolution atmosphere model, a coastal ocean model and a hydrological model all feed a fjord model producing current and hydrography on a spatial scale of O(100m) every hour for any period the last 50 years. Based on results from the fjord model we simulate particle dispersion where particles will have vertical behaviour, mortality and infectivity depending on the pathogen. Observations for model validation are taken from e.g. current measurements.

    We find that the currents are highly variable when realistically forced by wind, tide, freshwater runoff and the interaction with coastal water. Thus the regional distribution of pathogen concentrations will also have a large variability (hourly to daily) and potentially a long dispersion distance from the source (several tens of km).

    It is necessary to include the effects of the current and other environmental variables like salinity and temperature in order to precisely determine the regional distribution of pathogens in Norwegian coastal waters. This will be increasingly important in a future climate which is projected to include stronger forcing of the fjord and coastal water.

  • 14:15 Hydrodynamical Model as Tool for Better Management of Aquaculture in North Conditions
    Authors: Alena Timoshina ( Russian State Hydrometeorological University ); Valery Chantsev ( Russian State Hydrometeorological University )

    Nowadays, aquaculture is one of the fastest growing industries. Aquafarms are complex systems that include biological, physical, chemical, technical and anthropogenic components. In areas of high latitudes, it is much more difficult to monitor the stable functioning of the system, especially in condition of a changing climate. Each seemingly insignificant detail could be a determining factor for the successful development and growth of healthy aquatic organisms. The hydrodynamic regime of waters plays a vital role at all stages of the fish and other aquatic organism’s lifecycle. The values of the flow velocity and the turbulent vorticity which formed inside cages affect the processes of the vital activities of fish, their ability to move, to respiration and bioproductivity in general. On the other hand, the construction of the aqua farm also can affect the hydrodynamic regime in coastal area. Therefore, at the initial stage of planning the aqua farms several calculations are needed to estimate the impacts of new installations in the area of interest. The use of numerical modeling is best suited for solving this problem, supporting the optimization of location, size, shape and type of underwater constructions. Due to size of farms vary within tens of meters, a small-scale model is needed (that can perform simulations with spatial steps equal to several centimeters or one meter).

    The authors developed a new three-dimensional small-scale hydrodynamic model. The purpose is to identify features of hydrodynamic regime in coastal area considering the existence of submerged structures. The present model is not hydrostatic, allowing more accurate assessment of vertical movement processes. It also uses deterministic differential Reynolds’s equations of averaged turbulent flow. The complete parameterization of Smagorinsky is applied to describe the coefficients of turbulent vorticity. The explicitly-implicit scheme is used for the time numerical solution, while the finite difference method is considered for the spatial solution.

    Such kind of study helps to establish an improved strategy for creating the best conditions for aqua farms. And this ultimately leads to an increase in the bioproductivity of each crop, as well as to an increase in the efficiency of the installation of underwater structures intended for aquaculture.

Science Science

Tuesday 23rd January 2018

13:00 - 14:30

Scandic Ishavshotel Nord Norge

Add to Calendar 2018-01-23 13:00 2018-01-23 14:30 Europe/Oslo Aquaculture in the high north in times of change - Sustainability in an age of climate change Scandic Ishavshotel Nord Norge

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