Great success in the launch of a Norwegian low tropic aquaculture network

group picture of the network, including the mayor of Tromsø, Gunnar Wilhelmsen

Group picture of the network, including the mayor of Tromsø, Gunnar Wilhelmsen, in the middle. Tromsø (Norway), January 2023. Picture: Rune Stoltz Bertinussen.

Sea urchins, seaweed snacks and cutting of sugar kelp during the Norwegian network launch on 25.-26. January. Nofima, together with project partners NORCE, UiT and Bellona arranged a workshop in Tromsø for low tropic aquaculture industry, researchers, and policy makers. The network was started by the NoLTANet project. AquaVitae and its sister project ASTRAL were well represented.

Nofima researcher and organizing chair, Céline Boechat, opened the workshop by presenting NoLTANet. The purpose of NoLTANet is to start a national Norwegian network for stakeholders within the field of low tropic aquaculture (LTA). With close to 50 participants the network workshop was a great success.

Left: Céline Boechat opening the workshop. Picture: Oda Bjørnsborg; right: Gunnar Wilhelmsen, mayor of Tromsø, trying sea urchins. Picture: Rune Stoltz Bertinussen.

Boechat summaries the workshop: “The engagement of the participants gives hope that by working together, the low trophic species will gain visibility both in terms of production but also on the consumer plate in the upcoming years”.

Sister projects working together

AquaVitae coordinator Philip James was exceptionally happy to see so many enthusiastic participants interested in LTA. He presented the AquaVitae project and some of the key results. He also pointed out that while 90 % of the world’s aquaculture is LTA, only 1 % or less of Norwegian aquaculture is LTA.

“I wonder what the future looks like for LTA in Norway”, James asked the audience.

Even though the LTA activities in Norway are relatively low now, there is a tremendous amount of interest in this network, and we hope this translates into more LTA activities in the future.

The ASTRAL project was represented on the stage by coordinator Elisa Ravagnan from the research institute NORCE. ASTRAL have case studies in Argentina, Ireland, South-Africa, Brazil, and Scotland on IMTA.

Ravagnan pointed out that “The EU is recognizing that IMTA is one of the options to go forward in the future for the aquaculture sector”.

Left:  Philip James and Elisa Ravagnan, coordinators of AquaVitae and ASTRAL respectively; right: professional speed dating during the workshop. Pictures: Oda Bjørnsborg.

The workshop organizing committee had to extend the agenda of the workshop to meet the interest of the participants. Eager discussions and a great turn out summed up this network meeting. Project partners have agreed to continue arranging Norwegian network meeting like this on a yearly basis, led by Nofima.

We look forward to seeing many of the participants again next year and many more new faces!