It is a saying that satisfied salmon taste better. How does SALMA® ensure that the salmon is satisfied before ending up in the stores? Our philosophy is clear and builds on transparency.
Today’s customers are knowledgeable and demand that producers consider animal welfare. We take this seriously, and we want to be transparent about the processes inside the fish farms and our fabric. Therefore, SALMA® invites chefs, customers, and media to visit our factory in Bømlo, where they can see our processes and understand the food system of SALMA® salmon, from the ocean to the stores. In addition to our transparent philosophy and vision to treat salmon well, our industry is strictly regulated.
A regulated industry
Fish farming is a regulated industry with clear guidelines from the government. The density of fish in the nets is adapted to the behavioral and physical needs of the fish and does not overseed 2,5% salmon per net. Additionally, all fish farms in Norway are imposed controls by veterinarians or fisheries biologists. During these controls, the welfare of the fish is measured through biological testing to oversee the health status of the fish. Moreover, SALMA® regularly examines the seabed to ensure that the salmon has good and healthy conditions. These examinations happen between six and twelve times a year.
A satisfied salmon
We strive for healthy salmon and believe that a healthy salmon is a satisfied salmon. Through clean and nutritious feed and sufficient space in the net, we ensure that the salmon is satisfied. To ensure that the salmon stays a satisfied salmon, we continually research the challenges in the fish farm industry. We have an excellent team of researchers in our research and development department, Bremnes Seashore. Additionally, we collaborate with Myobiotec to research improvements in fish welfare, product quality, and process methods. We want our research to be used by others to make sure that every salmon becomes a satisfied salmon.
How others see SALMA®
Knowledge is the key to improvements, also in the fish farm industry. The world looks at Norway regarding sustainable fish farming, and we are proud to be a pioneer in sustainable fish farming. We collaborate with a range of institutions and researchers to develop non-medical methods to eradicate sea lice, in addition to testing a new type of net, tubenot, that keeps the fish away from the surface where the sea lice are concentrated. The tubenot nets are still in a testing phase, but we are committed to finding new solutions to the known fish farm challenges, such as sea lice.
The use of antibiotics
In the early 90s, it was common to use vaccines against common salmon diseases, which reduced the need for feed containing antibiotics. Bremnes Seashore and SALMA® have not used antibiotics in their facilities since 1992. When the media is writing about resistance, it is based on a misconception that this entails antibiotic resistance. This is not the case; the resistance referred to in the media is about how sea lice develop resistance to different medications. Therefore, we are constantly developing new medicines and methods to be ahead of this. Another area typically misunderstood is when the salmon escape from the nets.
Regarding salmon escape from the nets, this is an issue we consider. Among other measures, we have started «SalmonTracking 2030», aiming to trace where the escaped salmon goes, the escape's speed, and the escape's size in local rivers. This will give us a better insight into the wild salmon populations and how we can better protect these populations.
This is what our salmon eats
We depend on good fish health to produce our quality products. High-quality feed is a prerequisite for good fish health. The feed that we give to the SALMA® salmon varies throughout the year. It mainly consists of natural ingredients such as fishmeal, vegetarian oils, legume protein, peameal, fish oil, algae, vitamins, minerals, and soy protein. In addition to making sure that our feed is of high quality, we also believe that our feed is a condition for sustainable fish farming. This is the reason why we became a member of the SALMON Group in October 2020.
Salmon Group is on the front regarding the development of sustainable fish farms, with a particular focus on sustainable feed that takes care of fish health and, simultaneously, reduces the ecological footprint. To be a member of the Salmon Group, we changed our feed with SG feed from January 1, 2021. There are many benefits to the SG feed; among them is the higher concentration of fishmeal, omega 3, and organic materials. These benefits contribute to good fish health and a high-quality product for consumers.
Fully electrical fish farms
In 2020, we opened the world’s first fully electrical fish farm. This means that all daily operations are managed by clean energy from onshore. As of today, 18 out of our 23 fish farms are attached to onshore electricity, and one of our fish farms is fully electric. Another environmental measure we are currently testing regarding renewable energy is battery-driven boats. The first battery-driven boat started to operate during the summer of 2021. Regarding electric boats and, more broadly, regarding sustainability, we have a partnership with Bellona to continue our effort to contribute to a green future.
A sustainable future
We often receive questions regarding SALMA®’s climate footprints. In 2020, Sintef developed a report that highlights some of these questions. We are measuring the climate footprint per food chain. We started in 2021 by quantifying, monitoring, and reporting the internal climate footprints, including the products and services we buy from external companies. We want to be transparent about our climate footprints and will present when this work is ready.
Another area we want to improve and that we are working on is the packaging. We are working on long-term projects to stop using non-recyclable plastic on our products and change to recyclable plastic packaging. As of today, we cannot change to non-recyclable plastic due to a lack of products that meets the requirements of "Safe Food" and food waste. If we were to switch to recyclable plastic packaging today, the salmon would have a short expiration date. A short expiration date would mean that more salmon would be wasted, and this is not a solution to the sustainability challenge that we and the entire food industry have.