The Aquafeed Technology Center (ATC), where researchers and the aquaculture industry will work together to produce more environmentally friendly fish feed, was officially opened by the Norwegian Minister of Fisheries.
Over 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions produced by farmed salmon come from fish feed. Every year, the Norwegian salmon industry uses 1.6 million tonnes of feed and 90 percent of raw materials are imported. The industry is calling for more environmentally friendly animal feed, and this will be one of the main tasks of the Bergen research center.
In 2015, Nofima, the University of Bergen (UiB) and Norce received funding from the Research Council of Norway regarding a request for infrastructure funding. The infrastructure is now virtually complete and a total of NOK 33.9 million (€ 3.2 million) has been spent. NOK 32.8 million was awarded by the Research Council of Norway.
“Today, researchers and industry have received the instruments they need to develop the food of the future,” Minister Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen said before cutting the ribbon.
The minister specified that the work carried out at the center was based on open research. This means that all industry players will have access to the results and therefore the pace of innovation can be accelerated.
Open international research
“This world-class center is the result of targeted investments over many years. The center will be made accessible to researchers from all countries. Open research is the foundation. Access to this kind of cutting-edge research infrastructure also makes Norwegian research communities attractive partners for major international research communities, ”said Ingebrigtsen in her opening speech.
“The aquaculture industry is totally dependent on access to more feed containing sustainable raw materials,” said Ingebrigtsen. “There are many initiatives and several raw materials are being discussed which come from, for example, krill, bacteria, mesopelagic species, tunicates, microalgae, kelp species, grasshoppers and soldier fly larvae. . ”
Mari Moren, Research Director at Nofima, is satisfied with all the initiatives, but realistic about the challenges that remain.
“It’s not as simple as taking out the soybeans and then adding a new raw material. First, research needs to be done on the adequacy of raw materials in feed pellets, since feed production is quite complex. We have to start in the right place. Sustainable raw materials must first be properly processed before they can be used in salmon feed. Once that is in place, suppliers can start large-scale production of these, ”she said.
The main section of ATC is located at Nofima’s premises in Bergen and contains state-of-the-art equipment.
“This center provides us with a comprehensive infrastructure that benefits both research, commerce and industry,” said Øyvind Fylling-Jensen, CEO of Nofima.