Since 1970, we have produced high-quality fish. Each year we produce over 60 million salmon meals. For Eide, a synergy between ownership, responsibility and operations has always been important. Our focus is on achieving good long-term result. We want to shape the future of aquaculture in the best possible way, so that future generations can harvest and eat high-quality salmon and trout from Eide with a low carbon footprint.
Our salmon and trout is also fed with the best feed, with a high share of marine ingredients. This ensures that our salmon is full of the healthy omega 3 fatty acids that both us humans and the salmon need to stay healthy. We have also chosen to only buy feed where the fish oil ingredients are cleaned for dioxins and dioxin-like PCB’s. This is also to ensure that our salmon contains as much as possible of the health stuff, and as little as possible of everything else. We also eliminated the use of Brazilian soy from our feed. We do this to be 100% sure that we don’t indirectly contribute to deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, as well as to reduce the carbon footprint of our fish.
All the salmon we produce is also Global GAP certified, a standard which include strict requirements on traceability and food safety. We are also certified as a carbon neutral company and are able to offer certified carbon neutral salmon where all the carbon emissions in the value chain of the product are offset. We also produce and offer organic salmon, certified in Norway by Debio according to the EU regulations for organic farming.
We work every day to improve. It is all about having skilled, passionate and local employees who all have the same goal: To produce salmon of the highest quality.
Many of the challenges within this topic can be traced back to the challenges of handling salmon lice. The salmon louse is a parasite that exists naturally in the ocean and that only lives on salmonid species. Since there are many farmed salmon compared to wild salmon this will increase the infection pressure if farmers do not take measures to keeping the number of lice low. To prevent this, there are strict limits on how many lice there can be per fish. However, treatments to keep the lice away can be stressful and potentially harm the fish. Many of the alternative treatment methods have other challenges. Using medicals lead to drug resistance and may impact the environment, while using cleaner fish brings its own fish welfare issues.
In this chapter we focus on the overall strategy for sea lice management as well as the most important direct contributors to reduced fish welfare. You can read more about our measures aimed at reducing fish mortality and use of medicines and chemicals in other chapters.Our strategy for sea lice management include five different categories of measures, each with its pros and cons. Every site has its own unique strategy, adapted to the local site conditions.
We aim to keep lice levels below 0.1 adult female lice per fish on all our sites in the period when the wild salmon and trout migrate from the rivers towards the ocean. All sites shall count and report lice levels on a weekly basis.
We aim to handle the sea lice primarily through preventive measures. These measures are normally better for both the fish and the environment. However, succeeding with preventive measures are challenging, and a wide range of different measures are needed, all of which require significant investments, knowledge and experience. We use a combination of genetics, feed, larger smolts, lice tarpaulins, snorkel cages and closed cages to prevent lice infestations.
During recent years Eide invested heavily in preventive measures. In 2022 we will complete the construction of a RAS-facility for production of large smolts through Ænes Inkubator AS. We also invested in snorkel cages, closed cages in the sea, sensors and data.
When preventive measures alone is not sufficient, we also use cleaner fish. The cleaner fish is one of natures own delicers, where different fish species have adapted to feed on lice from the salmon. Using cleaner fish has no negative consequences for the salmon, but it is challenging to ensure good conditions for the cleaner fish, and a large share of the cleaner fish die in the cage. When using wild caught cleaner fish we also need to consider the population of these species. Using cleaner fish is still a necessary tool in a sea lice management strategy. However, we aim to both reduce the number of cleaner fish used while improving the conditions for the cleaner fish. The cleaner fish has hiding and resting space in the cage and is given its own feed.
When this is also insufficient, we use non-medical treatments using either freshwater or tempered water. These methods does not impact the environment, but it is stressful for the fish to be handled and treated. A high share of the fish mortality in the industry can be traced back to this category of lice treatment measures. These environmentally friendly measures are an important tool in a sea lice management strategy, but we work thoroughly to improve both the technology and the operations to make it better for the fish.
Medical treatment or early harvest are the last measures we can use if necessary. The medicals are gentle to the fish, but the lice adapts fast and builds resistance to new drugs. Some of the medicines may also potentially have a negative impact on wild species and we want to minimize the use from a precautionary principle. We aim to not use more than one medical treatment against lice per cycle.
After several years with large investments in preventive measures we have started to see a small decline in reactive measures. However, this effect is partly offset by stricter permitted lice levels.
The use of cleaner fish continued to decline in 2021, despite an increase in production volumes in the same period. Non-medical treatments increased slightly from 2020 but is still below the levels in 2018 and 2019.
The goal of no more than one medical treatment against lice per cycle was met. This has been medicine added through the feed, no medical bath treatments was used in the period.
Fish mortality has many causes. The most important ones are fish diseases, non-medical treatments against lice, algae blooms and poor smoltification.
We work systematically and thoroughly to ensure good fish welfare and to reduce mortality from every decision ranging from genetics, vaccines and feed to improving operations. The dead fish is examined and categorized, and the development is followed closely over time. Incidents that lead to increased mortality is reported to the Norwegian Food Safety Authorities.
In addition to lice treatment the fish disease PD (Pancreas Disease) is an important contributor to high fish mortality, We use the newest and best vaccines available against PD to improve fish health and reduce mortality.
We also invest in large scale data capture using censors at our pens to continuously log parameters like salinity, oxygen and currents to help us improve and learn.
To reduce mortality further we have also invested in equipment to stun and bleed weak fish that could have otherwise died.
Since 2020 we also hired our very own veterinary, Britt Kari. This is an important position for us to increase focus on fish health even further. Britt Kari helps us to work systematically with improving biosecurity and to inspect and monitor the health and quality of our fish.
The measures taken has resulted in a significant reduction in mortality compared to recent years. In our view, the improvement is mainly due to the continuous work and efforts from all our staff. In addition, the use of stun and bleed vessels and a reduction in the number of lice treatments has been important. Despite the significant improvement this year our goal it not reached, and some sites still experience a high mortality rate. We will continue the work and measures going forward to keep mortality low and to further advance towards our 5 % goal.
When farming fish we use chemicals for different purposes, including acids for ensilage of dead fish, sedatives and anesthetics for vaccination and transport, and detergents and disinfectants to keep our farms and equipment clean and safe. In addition, we sometimes use medicines for treatment against fish diseases or parasites.
We do risk assessments for all our drugs and chemicals and implement measures to reduce the risk of emissions to the environment or harm to our people or fish. We have a system in place to ensure that all chemicals are handled properly, that all staff are sufficiently trained, have the right protective wear and access to the product data sheet. Use of drugs and medicines is only done after prescription from a veterinary.
Based on a precautionary principle we have chosen not to use copper based anti-fouling on our nets. Copper is a metal with a long degradation time in nature and with a potential negative impact on the seabed under the farms. To achieve this goal, we have had to invest in acquire additional capacity for net cleaning since water based anti-fouling without copper is less effective.
To reduce the use of drugs and medicines against parasites such as the sea lice we use preventive measures and non-medical treatments when possible.
We have managed to reduce our use of medicines significantly since 2016, mainly as a result of more preventive measures and non-medical treatments against sea lice.
In 2021 we achieved our target of not more than one medical treatment per production cycle.
We did not use any antibiotics or copper based anti-fouling in 2021.