Controlled production and correct timing of transfer from freshwater to the sea is crucial for smolt to manage the transition in the best possible way. This will result in high survival and growth rates when the smolt reaches the sea. If one does not manage to time the release precisely it may result in economic loss, in addition to not being environmental friendly.
Researchers from Uni Research and the University of Bergen have developed an analytical tool providing the fish farmer with more information, and thus making the prediction of the smolt’s status way more precise on this crucial stage.
The tool has been called SmoltVision and makes use of the smolt’s genes to identify what stage in the smoltification development it is currently on. The tool indicates how well the smolt will tolerate seawater, and thus give the farmer an early warning of the fish moving into the smolt window. Also, the farmer will be warned of desmoltification on an early stage. This represents a great advantage compared to the most commonly used analysis method, ATPase-analysis, where the farmer only is provided with a concrete answer on how the fish handles seawater at the exact time of the test.
Another great advantage with SmoltVision is that the farmer has the opportunity to develop models adapted to their local conditions. No fish farms are equal, so this type of technology is highly valuable. Genetics, equipment, water source, operations personnel and procedures are examples of what the farmers individually can choose to make use of in the model for their farm.
The project has received funding from the FORNY2020-program at the Norwegian Research Council.