SYNCHROSMOLT: 15MILLION NOK AWARDED TO IMPROVE SMOLT HEALTH THROUGH CHRONOBIOLOGY AND GENETICS
Photos from the left: Simen Sandve, Even Jørgensen and David Hazlerigg
Congratulations to David Hazlerigg (UiT, ACP), Even Jørgensen (UiT, ACP) and Simen Sandve (NMBU, Ås) who have been awarded 15 million NOK by the Fiskeri- og havbruksnæringens forskningsfinansiering (FHF) to optimize smolt production protocols.
Norwegian salmon farming is facing several challenges, one of which is a ~12-14% loss after seawater transfer. Numerous factors are responsible for this loss, but smolt quality and susceptibility to pathogen infection seem to be major contributing factors. This emphasizes that too many fish transferred to seawater in Norwegian salmon farms are not ‘optimal smolts’ suited for seawater transfer. This project will focus on two major factors contributing to this issue; the rearing protocols used for smolt production and the genetic contribution to variation in the response of fish to these rearing protocols. We believe that the interaction between these factors cause variation in smolt fitness in seawater and in turn to smolt losses. To improve smolt robustness, it is necessary to (i) develop new and better markers for predicting seawater performance and to (ii) produce smolts of both higher and more uniform seawater adaptability; i.e. higher survival and growth and less welfare issues. This project will address these key challenges by exploring optimization of smolt production protocols, validating novel markers for smolt ‘seawater readiness’, and study the possibilities to perform selective breeding for more uniform and ‘synchronized’ smolt development.