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#0992: Happy Fish – Important?

Gjest: Solveig Nygaard and Cecilie Walde

Global fish health manager and PhD candidate/researcher of Grieg Seafood ASA and Norwegian Veterinary Institute (NVI)

Med Vert Silvija Seres

In this episode of #, LORN Silvija talks to Solveig Nygaard, the global fish health manager in Grieg Seafood ASA, and Cecilie Walde a Ph.D. candidate/researcher at the Norwegian Veterinary Institute (NVI). It is an in-depth look into the biological applications of the AquaCloud, and where, or even if there is a tradeoff between the welfare of fish and optimized production. Silvija’s curiosity (especially when it comes to the pure scale, technology, and depth of a fish farm) and the guests passion leads to discussions about how to define a ‘happy fish’, both psychologically and physically, and what the knock-on effects in the industry will be from a focus on fish welfare.  


Full transcript

With Solveig Nygaard, Cecilie Walde and Silvija Seres

Velkommen til Lørn.Tech - en læringsdugnad om teknologi og samfunn. Med Silvija Seres og venner

SS: My name is Sylvia Seres, and my guests today are Solveig Nygaard, Global Fish Health Manager in Grieg Seafood ASA, and Cecilie Walde who is a Ph.D. candidate at the Norwegian Veterinary Institute. Welcome, Cecilie, and welcome Solveig.

SN: Thank you.

CW: Thank you.

SS: I'm just going to say a few words about our conversation before we get started with the discussions, just so I can place this into a series. So, this is a part of five or six conversations that LØRN is having with NCE Seafood Innovation which is a national centre of expertise about fish farming based in Norway. We are focusing on their aqua cloud data platform and its development, but also its usage and effects on the production of seafood and related industries. In this conversation, we are going to focus especially in-depth on the biological aspects of applications of aqua cloud and perhaps also more on what is fish welfare, and how do we optimize it? In addition to optimizing production, does that sound okay?

CW: Yeah.

SN: Yes. Excellent

SS: Then we'll get started with my standard first question, which is the most difficult of them all. Who are you, and what has made you so? And we will start with Solveig.

SN: Thank you, you can see I’m a very old woman and I have been involved in fish farming since 1985. Most of it is in the production out at sea. For the last year, I've been in Grieg Seafood working with global strategies, but from my point of view, it's a production and fish health and fish welfare in production. I am a veterinarian and a specialist in fish diseases.

SS: So, you are by training veterinarian, which is again for those of us not very well versed in all the definitions. If I say it's a doctor for animals and you specialize in fish, am I saying something very wrong?

SN: No, that's right. It's a fish doctor.

SS: It's a fish doctor and you care about the physical health of fish but also their welfare, which is perhaps their mental welfare.

SN: Yes, that's a behaviour and how they, how they set their own conditions out in the tanks in and in the cages.

SS: Do they seem like happy fish?

SN: In my next life I'm going to be a fish psychologist.

SS: Very cool. perhaps you're that already with what we're going to talk about now. I think it's a fascinating topic, partially because you know, I think we underestimate the psychology of the beings we can't understand. I think that's partly also why we behave less well towards sea life than we behave towards the lives of the traditional household animals and I'd love to ask you more about that. before we do that, Cecilie, who are you?

CW: Well, I just want to say at first that I think Solveig would be the best fish psychologist of them all, but I'm a fish health biologist. That's a five-year study containing mainly just studies on fish. And I also have taken economics at different universities in addition to that. I worked with diagnosing fish diseases for many years, and I actually also worked in the field with Solveig, or for Solveig. Now I'm doing a Ph.D., which is an interdisciplinary Ph.D. between fish health and economy.

SS: Say two more sentences about that. So happy fish means more money and more sustainable production or some such.

CW: Yeah, that's what we are trying to find out. It's complex. So how happy does the fish need to be to make money? That's some of the issues. Very roughly.

SS: No, I'm just going to throw one more question back at you, and then I have one more question for Solveig. Cecilie, In the first conversation in the series I heard two numbers and they stuck in mine. One of them says that we are currently producing 1.1 million tons of salmon per year in fish farms. The other number said that we want to raise that number to 5,000,000 tons of salmon per year. I forget the time perspective here, but it was something like 2050 or 2035. In my mind, if we are going to multiply the current production by 5 given our natural resources, we really have to solve the problem that the two of you are talking about. Because unless we know that the fish are handled in a long perspective, happy way, can't grow more fish.

CW: No, and I think actually the basis for the numbers you have stuck in your head, those are based on those problems being solved.

SN: I just had to add something about fish welfare. When you're talking about money and fish welfare because when we are taking a living organism, a living animal like a fish that can percept a good nurse. We are responsible to treat this animal as well as possible, that's welfare. It's not only money, but we are very happy that usually good fish health corresponds are linked to good fish welfare. We are responsible when we produce food from the living.

SN: Yes. I agree, and I think it's it's very important to remember that money is only something that humans have. This is from our perspective, not the fish's perspective. We decide what's the value of the fish. It's not only the market price that decided it's what's the value of a fish is a very difficult question and that sort of sets the premises for doing these economic analyses. So, we need to have very thorough ethical and moral discussions around. What is the price and what reflects the price, so it's that's why I say it's a complex issue like Solveig said

SS: Norwegian salmon commands a good price because you know they people think it's clean waters. Associated with a country that is very responsible in the way that it fish farms, and I'd like to kind of delve into that. More as a branding question, but I want to go back to something that's Solveig said. First of all, you said you're an old lady? I won't ask you about what you mean by that. I turned 50 this last summer and I decided that 50 is no age because I think age is defined by how much you have ahead of you, not how much you have behind you. How much life, action, plans, and dreams. I still think I'm going to work for 30 years to come, and I don't want anyone to tell me it's time to stop developing because that's unacceptable. I want to go back to a year that you said, and that’s 85. You said you've been working in fish farming since 85. That's 35 years ago. How old is fish farming in Norway and you know could you tell us? A little bit about the history of this field because from my understanding we were a first-mover when it comes to salmon.

SN: Yeah, that's right. I can't use so much time, I've been happy to walk together with the fish farmers from very small family-owned producers where they had to find every piece of equipment themselves because you couldn't buy it anywhere. Sometimes they were about to go bankrupt, and some of them went bankrupt. I've been following this industry for all this time, and that's been very exciting. Especially now because we are going into an industrial stage and still it's a very high focus on fish health and fish welfare which I'm happy about. That’s what I'm concerned about, what I'm working with and we get new problems all the time. We had very high mortalities from bacterial diseases and was the whole industry was about to collapse from about 88 to 89. Then we got working vaccines, the fish survived and we have a very low antibiotic usage in Norway compared to other salmon producers.

SS: So some 40 years ago or 35 years ago, some people had this idea that they are going to put some salmon in a pen out in the open sea, and it sounded a bit like a crazy idea because salmon are long-distance journey fish, but it worked well. I'm just fascinated. How does an industry start?

SN: I think it's so many people around in the world with good ideas and when they dare to try, very many of them fail. If we don't have these people, we will not go further in our production. One of them is from my county. He was selling clothes for females and he was going to Denmark to buy what he was going to sell in Norway. He saw that they had rainbow trout in ponds, then he thought “Oh we have to try that in Norway”, then they started with the rainbow trout in ponds south to Stavanger and they continued with salmon. So that was one of the first fish farmers, so it's fascinating how it started. But the development is also fascinating, and it's been very many bumps in the road.

SS: Just one more question there. So, when you say ponds is that onshore and then because there was this movement offshore, which I think also is very courageous.

SN: Yeah, they started with points onshore, and then it was tanking, and then they started with the pens out in the sea.

SS: Now we have pens, and please correct my numbers now, because this is the stuff I both want to learn and I want my listeners to remember if I understood correctly, Cecilia. I forget how big these pens were, but somebody gave me a picture. I know it's 200,000 fish in one, but I forget how deep and how wide. But I know that you can dip Boeing 727 in one of these.

CW: I think that there are different measures. I'm not sure what’s the biggest I think Solveig is better at this than me.

SN: The largest one around the circle is 200 meters, but the most usual is 160 meters in. That's a circle. Then the diameter is about 50 meters.

SS: And how deep?

SN: It depends on the shore. In some places only 10 meters but usually 20 meters. Up to 40.

SS: Let me ask you a stupid question, do they have a bottom?

SN: Yeah, they have a bottom, and then in the bottom, they have a system to take up any. Dead fish and usually you have many cameras every in every pen or cage, so you could have a surveillance system for the fisheries. Is it on the surface? How is it eating, and do we have many not performing fish and things like that, so it's technological? Today it's more interesting.

SS: One more question about the pen itself. I understand it's made usually from nylon and it has holes in it so that the water can go through, but the fish can't.

SN: That's right. When you transfer our small fish, maybe 100 grams to the sea, you have small holes in the net, but when it's growing and maybe the average size is 4kg. You have a larger hole so more current could flow through in a better way.

SS: The fish that are in this cage. The 200,000 fish to a huge volume of water so they can move around both vertically and horizontally. They live their whole life in this pen from the placement, and it's about one year or eight months to 16 months depending on where they are geographically based, or how should we think about the life of one of these pen fishes.

SN: They started their life on like the wild salmon in freshwater and are hatched. It depends on the temperature they use about one year from hatching to sea transfer at land, but sometimes if you want to have a larger fish at sea transfer. Maybe after two years at a very long production time in freshwater and then they transferred to the pens, and in the northern part of Norway's, maybe at Iceland or areas with very cold seawater in periods like Russia, you may have a production time of up to two years in the sea pen. I'm living on the west coast of Norway; we would want it to be up to 10 months. But then we need to have a large-small protocol as we call it, but that's a transfer from freshwater to seawater. So usually, 15 to 16 months in seawater. That's the average life today. Here comes a real dumb question, and then I promise I'll stop. Do they make babies when they're in these pens? Or do they have to be able to go to freshwater to mate? How does that work?

SN: I think Cecilie can answer that.

CW: No, they don't. We don't want their fish to come to mate in the pens. When they are ready to mate, the flesh gets a bit waterish. It's bad quality to eat a fish that's ready to mate, so we don't want that. I also think it's important what Solveig says that this is a complex production because the fish is very sensitive to its environment. It's not like a warm-blooded animal. It's a cold-blooded animal so the temperature affects how they grow. In cold water, they grow slower, in warm water they grow faster. Aquaculture is complex farming.

SN: But could I just add something when we have problems said that in production we always have to go back to nature. What is happening to salmon in nature and nature the fish is now at the moment in our rivers. The first fish is coming back from the Atlantic and coming up in the rivers, just to prepare their spawning. That was happening also in the industry. We have to take the fish up in freshwater. When they are ready for spawning and they are spawning in freshwater and the eggs are fertilized in freshwater, they will not survive if they are fertilized in seawater. We have to always look at nature. What is best for the fish in nature? Being developed through thousands of years in nature, we have to do our production like nature.

SS: Very cool. It's a complex production. I would like to ask you a little bit more about this point that Cecilie opened upon. Fish are cold-blooded animals. They are very different animals. I understand that if I have some chickens or if I have some pigs or a cow, I can relate a little bit more easily if they are happy, is their decent welfare or not but I don't even know where to begin thinking about fish welfare. So maybe we start with Solveig again. What is fish welfare?

SN: Fish welfare is when you decide on this animal. You have to give it conditions that it could grow ad and not be at the. Not have any diseases and also what we think is happy that could be difficult to decide in fish, but we have got more and more measurements and we have learned quite a bit more and more about the behavior. It is today and we use very much camera surveillance today. So, it's easier to decide, but we have to give the conditions we have to to give our culture salmon should be the best to survive and to not only to survive but to thrive.

SS: What do you think, Cecilia?

CW: Yeah, I totally agree. It's like the behavior they have in nature, and that's natural to them. They should be allowed to have the freedom to behave what's natural to them and they should also have the opportunity to have a good environment and be free of diseases. Yeah, you need to have enough space. Be a happy animal. Fish welfare sort of pushes our limits of perspective because they are so different from us. It's difficult to understand, human or not, a human being, but an animal being that's so different from us. Lives in a completely different environment than us, so it pushes us to broaden our perspective, and we should be pushed. It's our responsibility also to push that perspective.

SS: I have to ask you a personal side question. There is a documentary on Netflix called “What I've learned from my Octopus teacher”. Have you seen that?

CW: No, actually I haven't. But my mother saw it yesterday and she said: “You have to see it”.

SS: It is wonderful. It's this guy somewhere off the coast of Australia. He has a life crisis, burnout and goes back to his childhood cottage and goes down every day to a tidal pool. He free dives with an octopus and learning about how they live. The Octopus accepts him eventually and moves freely around him and it kind of brings him into its own world, and it's a part of this, what makes a happy octopus? Absolutely amazing. Going back to what makes a happy salmon. Especially if it's penned in. As both of you are saying, it's our human responsibility if we are going to be industrializing a production based around a living being, we have to make sure that they have decent conditions. That's the only way to do this sustainably.

SN: That's right, and just a comment. because of people working out on that by the tanks and are working every day with the fish. They are the best psychologists. So, some years ago an anthropologist from Oslo. She went out and she worked on different farms and she made a book, “Becoming Salmon”. And she describes in detail how the different persons could. Observe the fish and oh something is wrong. I could see it in the behavior, so they're very clever, but what is difficult is to standardize. This is registrations on behavior, but people working with fish are trained, they have a trained eye and they are very interested in the fish.

SS: If we now connect this and maybe go towards Cecilia Ph.D. as well. So, we are gathering data in production and it has to do with fish size and fish numbers and environmental data et cetera. Solveig, if you could perhaps start us off if I'm understanding this at a very basic level, the idea is that. What we're trying to do is look for patterns in this data that somehow align with this intuition that people who have worked with the fish all their life have.

SN: Yeah, that's right. Today, we just have registered many data from water quality, appetite, mortality, behavior, and also diseases, but the problem is that we have many. Different the different farmers and the different vets. Maybe doing it differently so we need to have a more standardized way to do it so we can compare. The goals are becoming better.

SS: Better quantified goals or better measurable goals?

SN: Measuring what you're doing. Your efforts should be more effective when you know why is the appetite going down now? Why is this behaviour? Maybe all the fish are going on the surface and you could put together many registrations, maybe from the water quality, maybe from algae and then we can know it better next time to be more prepared. Maybe with the oxygen, we'll pressure here in the water to take up deep water. So that work we have to standardize to be better prepared.

SS: Cecilie, we're going to you in a second. I just want to hang on to a couple of images I have in my head now from what Solveig was saying. One of the things that Björgolfur was talking about is how climate changes seem to have this very paradoxical effect on the west coast of Norway that we have less severe storms, which is a problem in a couple of fjords because there isn't this ability to move the water over the threshold and freshwater, etc. What you said now Solveig, could be a solution, because basically, we could in a way pump fresh water. With pressure, for example through the pen without damaging the fish, but still cleaning the water. Am I having the right pictures in my head?

SN: Yeah, we do it already. We try to do it but sometimes we are not sure to do it at the right time. If we had a better surveillance system and better registration, but also, we are reworking today. Many fish farmers are or the industry are working together, but it could be improved. They could exchange information and also experience what is. How is it what is working and what is not working so well?

SS: Cool. Cecilia, what do you think? Is data smart for fish welfare?

CW: Yeah, I think there's a lot of opportunities in making use of all the data that's out there, collecting it, and standardizing it. And that was one of my challenges. Working with a data set that's quite huge. It's a high resolution. It's daily recordings of performance from 2014 and 2019 from three different companies. It's it takes a lot of time to put these three datasets together when they don't have the same language, and perhaps also not the same calculations. Of whatever they are calculating. I think there's a huge. what do I say? A huge benefit from standardization. But I also think that I'm a bit humble to these big data because I think my prior knowledge from working in the field and it's also what Solveig says about the guys working closest to the fish. When you read such data, and it's a huge amount of data, you have to know what you are reading. You also have to know something about the pitfalls that might be there, or else it's possible to make the wrong conclusions because you didn't know what the data actually was saying. How was it recorded? Who recorded it? Was it a storm when they counted the fish is? Is it the lice in the bucket they counted? You need to talk to the people that are out there doing the job, and I mean the workers at the farm. The Fish Health Service are the guys closest to the fish and they have a huge amount of knowledge about how to interpret such data. It's not just taking the big data and start starting to work with it. You have to know what you're supposed to do with it, and also what the possible problems are.

SS: Just to refer to another conversation I had last week, I talked to a guy called Jo Røislien who is a statistician working in health data among other things, and we were just discussing how it's usually the mathematicians who see the limits of statistics and the big data and AI applied to different, especially life sciences. I think what you're making the point you're making now, Cecilie, is extremely important, because statistics can tell you whatever you want, but you need to know what's the right question and what's the right context for the data, and it can't be a completely done out of context of the people who actually work with the system daily.

CW: No, you can get significant results. Statistically significant results. That's not significant at all. I think prior knowledge is extremely important. Is this possible? Is this biological possible explanation? If it's not, then perhaps we should try another angle. I think it's extremely important to know the context you're working in.

SS: It takes time to develop good data models and it takes time to get enough data as well. If you were to define the most important aspects of data, Solveig, to be able to be a good fish psychologist, what would you be asking for?

SN: I've been asking for, of course, appetite. Also, we are recording environmental conditions, but we have to what is most important. We can't recognize, we can't survey everything, and then it's the behavior from the fish, we have to be better by surveillance. Today the technology is coming with camera surveillance so we can see if most of the fish are on the surface, is it on the bottom, and why? What is the activity of the fish and also the appetite? Maybe you can see some nonperformers in just close to the nets and things like that. So, and that's what the people out on the sea are looking at. They are registering, but it's not standardized. Maybe writing down in the daily books today the fish is all the fish. You can see the fins on the surface. I don't know why. We need systems to standardize the registrations.

SS: Two questions from somebody who doesn't know much about fish health. The problem of lice is coming up in every conversation we have, and if you could just help me. If I ask that question one more time so a lice-infested fish. Is not a good fish and I don't understand why. What's the big problem? Is it a sick fish? Is it a fish that's going to die, or is it just a frustrated fish because it's scratchy or the skin hurts? Or you know why do we need to get rid of lies and? And is it not a big difference between wild and farmed?

SN: Sea lice is the parasite eating from the skin and also sucking blood from the skin. So, if you have heavy infections with sea lice, the skin will be hurt. You will be getting also some the last day will die, but you need very heavy infections before the fish will die. So today for the farmed fish we have very low levels before we have to treat them and the reason for that is that it should not be a Challenge pressure to the wild fish. That's most important.

SS: It shouldn't spill out over and.

SN: Yeah, it could be a challenge, but because we can't treat the wild fish. We have a very low limit when the wild fish is migrating from the rivers and to the Atlantic, and our fish will never die when it had lice under these levels or thresholds. That is the official threshold in Norway. But that is to keep down the challenge pressure. So actually, the fish health in Norway does not have direct problems with the sea lice today, but it's the treatment we have to do for the sea to keep down the challenge pressure, that's the problem and that we have to improve.

SS: And Sea lice is there all the time or in particular temperatures or particular currents?

CW: Well, the warmer the water, the higher the pressure and also the denser the farms. They might have spillovers from one farm to another. I think it's very important what Solveig says about the treatment itself or all the handling related to the treatment. That's the problem here, not lice itself, but it’s the lice that cause all the treatments, and that's a fish welfare issue. All the handling and treatment.

SS: So again, a basic question. Ultimately, it could be a human welfare question as well, because I'm just thinking now too, I don't know. Poultry or other kinds of farmed animals. In some countries, they are treated with extreme amounts of hormones and antibiotics to avoid these kinds of problems, but that has long-term negative effects on our health as well. So, what about fish? I mean, can you even treat them with antibiotics in saltwater?

SN: Yeah. We can, but it doesn't work against parasites, but against bacterial diseases. We had to do it in the late 80s when we had bacterial diseases, but that is a huge environmental problem. So today the usage of the conceptual antibiotics in salmon and rainbow trout production, it's about nothing.

CW: No, I think the main ways of treating today against salmon lice or sea lice are nonmedicinal treatment forms. So, it's using either heated water or mechanically brushing the lies off the fish.

SN: Or freshwater treatment.

CW: Or freshwater treatment, so I don't think for us humans, this is not a problem with what the fish may contain within its flesh. It's more the fish welfare that's the issue here.

SS: Then we have defined fish welfare more or less and I think we're closing in on time. Digital transformation related to fish welfare. It has to do something with data and data analysis, and if I understand you correctly, Solveig, you are in a way asking for simplified registrations and maybe automating even the data gathering. Cecilie is doing models and trying to figure out which are the relevant models. Am I correct, or can you correct me?

SN: No, that's right, we need to have a standardized and good quality of what we put in our registrations.

CW: Now I will also try to take the biological perspective and connect it to the economic perspective and perhaps also raise questions which we have done in this session as to how do we do it? I think our society needs this ethical and moral awareness of how do we think about economics? Because it's only a blanket before our eyes, you know it's all things that happen behind that. We just put a price on and we need to know something about everything that happens behind before we put a price on it. We do it the right way and think about everything so we don't get this market failure.

SS: Market failure and sustainability failure as well.

CW: Yeah, but sustainability. Failure is a market failure or the other way. If we don't have sustainability, we have done something wrong.

SS: I think it’s exactly as you say, and I think in some ways maybe the next generation is more articulated around this than mine at least. Not sustainably dealing with this is simply like chopping off the branch that you're sitting on, right? We won't be able to fish farm in the future unless we do it in a way that is aiming for the future.

SN: That's right, but it's very promising what is going on at the time. It's a very promising development with a better focus on registration fish welfare. I think that camera technology is very promising coming up. We don't have to take the fish out of the water to look at it and also focus on feed, how do we produce feed for the fish? I think the development is very promising. It's a healthy product we are producing.

SS: And it's one of the main projects for Norway for the future as well. I just want you to towards the end of our conversation to talk a bit about possible spillover effects on other industries. Are there points here in our conversation related to fish welfare and industrial farming that could be relevant for people who work in agriculture, forestry, or other resources from the sea? Or is there knowledge transfer maybe from those industries into yours? So, are there people in oil and gas and you know platforms that can help us with producing even better fish pens?

SN: This happens already. You had a drop in the oil industry and much of the technology from the oil industry and many people from the oil industry what went into fish farming on the sea. There are many types of equipment and boats. I think we have exchanged over some of the knowledge already, but it could be improved and I think agriculture also is a very dynamic industry. I think they are good at talking. We are all good at talking to each other and trying to work together and collaborate. I think the industry is good at that.

SS: Just towards the very end I have two short questions. One is about recommended reading and viewing, and one of you recommended “Moby Dick” and I just find it a fascinating old story, especially given Norway’s whaling history and now fishing industry history. There is a more kind of nerdic book about that from Jonathan Rushton. I don't know, Cecilie, you want to comment on these two?

CW: Well, “Moby Dick,” I think if one has the opportunity to read it in Norwegian, one should, because it's a very good translation and the English one is very heavy language. It's a lot of words in long sentences. But I think what's the point of “Moby Dick” is you think it's about the sea and the whale, but it's about so much more. I think this is perhaps what it's reflected here. It’s that we have to dive deeper into our own perspectives. How do we look at the world? Because Moby Dick to me was the eye-opener and to how did I look at the world at that time and you should read whoever hasn't read the book should read it.

SS: It's fighting with nature or win over nature, perhaps.

CW: Yeah.

SS: And Jonathan?

CW: Jonathan Russian is heavier. It’s more about how we use economics to say something about animal health and welfare and what we should think about.

SS: How do you measure the value of life but applied to animals?

CW: Yes, and who measures it when the ones that we do measure can’t speak for themselves.

SS: Then and then my final question is that there is a quote that you also mentioned Cecilie, “In the long run, we are all dead”, and that's by John Maynard Keynes, but still, we need to do the best we can while we are here. I just like you to kind of give me what really motivates you in doing what you're doing, both related to fish welfare, but perhaps environment and growth-related.

CW: Yeah, the reason why I got into this Ph.D. and also working with this is perhaps what I've learned through the studies, but also what I learned working in the field with Solveig and looking at the fish. These are living beings that we are working with and we have to ensure that we are working sustainably and I think working sustainably is ensuring good health and good welfare and that's the key issue. That's what motivates me. And even though we are dead in the long run, all of us should think about it. If this is what motivates us, it shouldn't. There's a generation after us, and there is a planet to take care of. So, even if we are dead in the long run, we should, when something else should motivate us than that.

SS: Solveig?

SN: No, it's fascinating to be in development all the time for making good and healthy food with a low carbon emission and working towards sustainable food production. And when you feel it's useful, what you're doing, that's stimulating.

SS: You work with global strategies for Grieg Seafood. Are there points here where we can help at the global level, not just at the national level?

SN: I think so much of the knowledge from Norway has been used in Canada and overseas, and also other places in Europe. But of course, they get their experience and we get our and we had to exchange the knowledge to be better.

CW: Excellent.

SS: I will leave this as an open invitation to anyone both working within aquaculture but also in related industries. To think about how they can either contribute with thinking about the welfare of these animals as resources and also about data. Thank you for an interesting and learn-rich conversation.

SN: Thank you.

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Who are you, personally and professionally?     
Solveig: I am the Global Fish Health Manager in Grieg Seafood ASA. I have been working with fish health since 1985.  
Cecilie: 37 years old, working mum to three small kids, long retired rower at Norwegian national team. Worked with fish health and diagnosing diseases in fish for many years at NVI, and in-field working for Solveig Nygaard actually. 

What are your education and hobbies? 
Solveig: Veterinarian, a specialist in fish diseases. Hobbies: outdoor activity, and training, and organizing theatre activities for children. Cecilie: Master's degree in Fish health biologist from University in Bergen (UiB) and Economy studies at NHH+ UiB+ University in Utrecht. Currently doing a Ph.D. in the field of epidemiology and economy. No time for hobbies with three small kids- sleeping and eating is prioritized!   

What does your organization do, and why do people buy from you/work with you?  
Solveig: My department in Grieg Seafood is a support for the production in the 5 regions. Cecilie: Norwegian Veterinary Institute is a biomedical research institute, and the national leading center of expertise in biosecurity in fish and land animals. The aim of the institute is to become Norway’s center of preparedness for One Health.  

What does digital transformation mean to you? 
Solveig: Simplifying today’s registrations. Cecilie: Putting numbers on performance/daily activities into databases/surveillance. 

Your own most important job projects in the last year?    
Solveig: Standardize internal registrations of fish welfare and evaluation of sea lice treatments. Also, it is important to exchange internal and external information to improve our production,  Cecilie: Published article on mortality after delousing operations as part of the PhD-work.  

What are your main new perspectives gained from Covid?    
Solveig: Optimistic for the fall in 2021- and remind myself of new experiences of covid 19. Cecilie:  Not a new perspective, but enforced – preparedness is only a cost when nothing happens, but it’s a bigger price to pay, not to be prepared when it happens. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure- Benjamin Franklin.  

What are your 3 best management tips?    
Solveig: Interested, open, honest. Cecilie: Structure, generosity, understanding. 

Any important sustainability perspectives?   
Solveig: We have to focus on sustainability in private and business life.  
Cecilie: Regarding aquaculture: Reducing mortality, improving health and welfare. 

And finally, what motivates your work? 
Solveig: The feeling to do something useful, and making improvements.  
Cecilie: Understanding the linkage and forming a better linkage between biology and economy. 


Samle deg med en venn eller en kollega for å se om du klarer å svare på spørsmålet nedenfor.


There has been a lot of progress related to standards for what welfare data to measure, still the data can be measured and registered in different ways across different farms. What challenges can this cause when analyzing combined data sets?   



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This is what you will learn:

Practicalities of fish farming 
Production timelines 
Fish Sensitivity 
Value of Understanding Nature 

Care and be involved 

- Solveig Nygaard and Cecilie Walde

Recommended literature:

Solveig: Novels and films about history or foreign cultures.  
Cecilie: Moby Dick by Herman Melville 
Improving the use of economics in animal health - challenges in research policy and education - Jonathan Rushton 

This is Grieg Seafood ASA and Norwegian Veterinary Institute (NVI)

Grieg Seafood is one of the world’s leading salmon farming companies, targeting 80 000 tonnes of harvest in 2021 (excluding Shetland, which will be sold when the time is right) and 130 000 tonnes in 2025. Their farms are in Finnmark and Rogaland in Norway, British Columbia and Newfoundland in Canada, and Shetland in the UK. 

The Norwegian Veterinary Institute is a biomedical research institute and the national leading centre of expertise in biosecurity in fish and land animals. The aim of the Institute is to become Norway’s center of preparedness for One Health.