Norway’s salmon sector continues to dial down antibiotics use

Published on
October 13, 2020

Norwegian salmon farmers further reduced their use of antibiotics last year, with just 1 percent of the total harvest requiring treatment, according the latest analysis from NORM-VET.

Data from its annual report on antibiotics use in Norwegian aquaculture found that in 2019 only 16 prescriptions were issued for Norwegian salmon farming, the lowest ever recorded, meaning that 99 percent of Norwegian salmon were produced without any antibiotic treatments.

The Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) confirmed that year-on-year, the use of antibiotics to treat illnesses in farmed salmon has dropped, and from “already negligible numbers” in 2018, a further 77 percent reduction was reported last year.

Thanks to effective vaccines and focus on fish welfare, there has been a 99 percent reduction in the usage of antibiotics in Norwegian ocean-farmed salmon since the late eighties, it stated.

“Norway has never produced more salmon than in 2019, yet the use of antibiotics continues to drop. This is the result of strong focus on fish welfare and food safety in the industry, and we are proud to say Norwegian aquaculture is the best in the world when it comes to antibiotics use in animal food production,” NSC CEO Renate Larsen said. 

Some 1.3 million metric tons (MT) of salmon were farmed in fjords along the Norwegian coast last year, with the industry using 222 kg of antibiotics. By comparison, the Norwegian land animal farming used 4,673 kg in their production.

Despite the Norwegian industry’s solid documentation, many myths around farmed salmon and antibiotics still exist, Larsen said.

“Many people still believe antibiotics is a problem for farmed salmon, which couldn’t be further from the truth. It is a well-documented fact that the usage has been almost zero for many years. Consumers can feel confident that Norwegian salmon are antibiotics free, and a safe and healthy choice on their dinner plates,” Larsen said.

Presenting data on resistance and usage of antibiotics in Norwegian animal husbandry and food production, the 2019 NORM-VET report is the 20th annual report of its kind.

Photo courtesy of NORM-VET

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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