Fish health

Why it is important to us

Fish health is vital to ensure sustainable resource utilisation. Good fish health implies that the highest possible share of fish are doing well, growing normally and survive at all stages of the lifecycle. It is an important duty for us as fish farmers to work systematically with fish health through prevention, so that the fish get the best conditions to stay healthy. High mortality also has a major negative impact on profitability.

Our main principles

We aim for a systematic long-term approach to achieve good growth and high harvesting quality, with a focus on ensuring resistance. This includes the preparation of overall fish health plans for each region. The plans cover regionally adapted infection prevention and vaccine strategies. Fish health plans are revised upon need, but at least once a year. For an optimal mutual response, we also focus on local cooperation and transparency with other participants.

Our efforts and results

FordRekord-illustration5 001 FordRekord-illustration1 001

Procurement

  • Quality feeds
  • Health feeds program
  • Medicines and vaccination<!–[endif]–>

Fish farming

  • Integrated fish health plans for each region
  • Measures to prevent contamination, and vaccination strategies
  • Monthly fish health controls
  • Local cooperation
  • Records in Fishtalk

We work every day to ensure that we keep the fish alive and healthy. Preventive fish health measures are essential to our success. These measures include our health feed programs which focus on increasing the fish robustness and ability to cope with stress and external influences, thereby also reducing medical treatments. These preventive programmes involve measures such as; site visitation order, use of disinfectant and disinfectant footbaths, routine mortality removal and offsite storage, isolation of installations by prohibiting transfers between facilities unless the boat is disinfected, and PCR screening for earlier detection of parasites, viruses and bacteria.

Another important preventive measure is the establishment of management agreements to maintain best practice cooperation with other actors in the same area.

Figure 1 shows an overview of the mortality rate of all our regions. In 2013 mortality was reported as dead biomass per biomass produced, from 2014 on we will report this in terms of individuals in line with the GSI indicator. Grieg Seafood aims for less than 7% mortality. In 2014 we achieved this goal for Atlantic salmon in BC, this is despite challenges with predators, algae and Tenacibaculum. There have also been positive developments in the other regions, although our ambitions have not been reached in the other regions. The causes of death have mainly been related to seal predation, smolt quality and gill challenges in the UK, the diseases PD and CMS in Rogaland, and IPN, Yersinia ruckeri and Tenacibaculum outbreaks in Finnmark.

Some of the measures to fight disease and promote fish health do however involve medical treatment. Table 1 shows an overview of regional use of antibiotics. Although we aim to avoid the use of antibiotics, there are some diseases that must be treated this way due to the welfare of the fish. In 2014 there has been a small number of treatments overall, with the exception of our BC operations.

2014 antibiotic use in BC was down from 2013 and we are now working on detailed plans to reduce these levels further in 2015. In Finnmark we used antibiotics in relation to a Tenacibaculum outbreak. In Shetland we were forced to use antibiotics when we received smolt that was infected with furunculosis. In both cases the antibiotics treatments were effective. Rogaland has had no antibiotics treatments in 2014.

Our ambitions and goals

Our aim is to keep the average mortality rate for the group to a maximum of 10%. In order to reach this goal we will make the necessary investments in the sites that have high mortality rates, and make sure that we learn from internal and external best practices to keeping the fish alive. This will be done through our newly established Fish health technical group. This group will develop common polices and guidelines, as well as set clear goals and a realistic and detailed plans for how to reach these goals. A key focus will be to reduce the levels in antibiotics used in BC. The Fish health technical group will report their suggestions directly to the top management group.

Figure 1: 12 months rolling mortality
supplied as one number for Jan – Dec *

*Mortality is defined as:

Total no. of mortalities in sea last 12 months – total no. of culled fish due to illness or similar and not included in the harvested number)/(closing no. of fish in sea the last month + total no. of mortalities in sea the last 12 months + total no. of harvested fish the last 12 months + total no. of culled fish in sea (due to illness or similar and not included in the harvested number)) X100

Table 1: Antibiotics

Amount of active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) used (in grams) per tonne of fish produced (LWE)

British
Columbia

Finnmark

Rogaland

Shetland

256 0,23 0,00 0,16