SEAFOOD Norway, the business group which represents the country’s aquaculture and fishing companies, is organising a major conference next month on fish welfare.
The organisation describes the initiative, which is being carried out through a long term improvement plan known as ‘AquaWelfare’ is seen as an important move in improving fish welfare within the industry.
The conference will also take on a new urgency because it is being reported that salmon deaths in the first quarter of this year have risen by almost 30 per cent.
Seafood Norway said: ‘Our members do want to increase their understanding of fish welfare and facilitate better control routines. The target group in this first meeting will be Seafood Norway’s members and invited speakers.
‘Through AquaWelfare we want the industry and its specialist communities to meet openly to share knowledge and exchange opinions in order to improve fish welfare in the aquaculture and supplier industries, said Ketil Rykhus, head of Food at Seafood Norway. The event will be held at the Radison Blu Hotel at Gardermoen, the site of Oslo’s international airport, on June 12.
Rykhus added: ‘Aquaculture is the country’s largest livestock production activity and at Seafood Norway, we believe that the industry should be in the driver’s seat when it comes to animal welfare. Even though aquaculture has already done a lot of work in this area, the time is now ripe for us to increase our focus.’
Along with fish farming companies, the event will include fish health services, the Animal Conservation Alliance, the Fisheries and Aquaculture Industry Research Fund and Seafood Norway itself.
‘We want to focus on the welfare of the industry, and establish what direction we should take in terms of best practice practice,’ said Rykhus.
‘It is also a goal of the meeting to discuss how we will use the AquaWelfare forum to further focus on fisheries welfare in the industry. A full agenda will be published later.’