AKVA group’s biologists play a key role to ensure that the company’s technology not only meets fish welfare requirements, but also provides the best possible conditions for the fish.
“To leave no doubt: Yes, fish do feel pain! Subsequently, fish is protected by regulations in the same way as livestock,” states biologist Guttorm Lange.
As product manager for lights, environmental sensors, sub feeding and mort collector systems in AKVA group, his message is crystal clear: All methodology and technology development in the company must be rooted in fish welfare.
“Good fish welfare provides good health – which in turn translates to higher survival rates, better growth and not least – better financial results for our clients. This is why we always look for solutions that promote good welfare,” he says.
Lange is one of several biologists in AKVA group. Together they work across all disciplines to ensure that the company’s technology promotes good welfare. His colleague Trude Olafsen, who is an educated aquaculture agronomist and responsible for long-term strategic projects, is happy to see that the biological aspect is getting increasingly more attention in the industry.
“The industry is getting more and more advanced and the focus is turning towards the fact that we’re dealing with living individuals. It hasn’t been easy to define the term “fish welfare”, but research is starting to come up with more solid results that we can relate to. For us in AKVA group, it’s important to not only keep updated on new research, but also ensure that our products and solutions help push the industry in the right direction,” she says.
“The industry is getting more and more advanced and the focus is turning towards the fact that we’re dealing with living individuals.”
Use of lights is a good example of how technology affects the biology of the fish. Last summer, AKVA group launched a new type of lamp, AKVA Aurora SubLED Combi, which provides a unique combination of blue, green, white contrast and ultra violet LED lights. The green and blue lights helps farmers postpone fish maturation (or controls smoltification in tanks), while the UV light helps attract the fish to deeper waters.
“Our hypothesis is that when the fish stay in deeper water, it is less exposed to lice. Put in other words; we can use lights as a tool to control the fish’ behavior to avoid severe lice infestations,” Trude Olafsen points out.
For this reason, AKVA group has also developed a new kind of sub feeder, AKVA Subsea Feeder, to prevent the fish from moving towards the surface to find food. Lights will pull the fish down during nights, while the sub feeder does the same during daytime. The combination of these two products have been thoroughly tested in partnership with chosen clients, and we have seen that it works.
“Our clients are highly qualified buyers who ask us many good and different questions. We have to meet them with good documentation that proves the products will fulfill all promises. This is why all new products are thoroughly tested to gain documented results – and why we always recommend step-by-step installations. It’s important that our clients see the effect for themselves before making major investments,” says Guttorm Lange.