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Sustainable Salmon Farming

Kvarøy Arctic

9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 14. Life Below Water 17. Partnerships for the Goals

Overview

Kvaory Arctic is a salmon company that aims to make salmon farming more sustainable. With the cleaner farming methods, and more suitable feed they provide their fish, they are able to help make advancements towards UN SDG's such as SDG #14 "Life Below Water", and SDG #12"Sustainable Consumption and Production".

Authors

Jay Corscadden

Jay Corscadden

Cameron Addis

Cameron Addis

Dash Debley

Dash Debley

John Willrich

John Willrich

Lauren Wood

Lauren Wood

School

Loyola Marymount University

Loyola Marymount University

Professor

Jeff Thies

Jeff Thies

Innovation

Kvaroy (pronounced Kwa - Ray) is a responsible aquaculture company based in Norway. Kvarøy, a remote island eight hours away from Oslo, is where their main base is and where their salmon farms are situated. Kvaroy examines all aspects of salmon farming and innovates to make it healthier for the consumer and for the planet compared to other salmon farms and wild-caught salmon.

Our group met with Jennifer Bushman, Head of Strategic Development at Kvaroy, and she told us about the processes and innovations that Kvaroy employs. One of the innovations that we were especially impressed by was how they have shortened the supply chain of salmon. In the interview, she stated that fish and seafood change hands more than any other product. She walked us through the normal supply chain for wild-caught salmon until it reached the consumer and by that point, the salmon had been handled by 7-10 different groups. The carbon footprint of a lengthy supply chain like this one is detrimental to the planet and the information about the salmon can often get lost in transit. Kvaroy supplies distributors directly, reducing their carbon footprint and providing fresher, more sustainable salmon. They track each salmon from egg to when it is sold in Whole Foods by using the power of blockchain. At every checkpoint, the individual salmon is logged into the blockchain so, at any point, its information can be accessed.

Kvaroy has been a family-owned business for the past 3 generations and are the first salmon farms in the arctic circle. Since it is a family-owned business, Kvaroy places an emphasis on passing down its values and processes from generation to generation. Additionally, they are always exploring new ways and improving on their innovations to make their salmon farms more sustainable. Havard Olsen, Operation Manager at Kvaroy, states, “We were first movers in a lot of ways. We’re searching for innovative ways to become better all the time (Kvaroy “Sustainability”). Jennifer Bushman, in our interview, stated that Kvaroy’s purpose is to be committed to doing more today to ensure that the impact of the fishing industry is reduced in the future.

Sustainable Salmon Farming

Inspiration

Kvaroy Arctic was founded in 1976 by Alf Olsen, who was a pioneer in the fish farming community, and his son Alf. Fishing was their way to make money, and they found the small Island of Kvaroy off Norway and decided it would be the perfect place for them. Jennifer told us that “In 1976 they built 3 wooden pens, took 3000 fish out of the ocean, and put them into the pens and they started to grow what was one of the first-ever salmon farms in the world”. The Olsen’s were innovators in the process of Salmon fishing. For a long time, fishing has not been done in a sustainable way. The Olsen’s acknowledged this at the beginning of their venture, far before sustainability was on the mind of many fishers, and although at first, they had to operate to support the economy, they knew they wanted to evolve to become more sustainable. Jennifer said, “As they were explorers and adventurers living in such a remote area, they have taken on farming fish in the same way, where they are always willing to have a new technology, a new piece of equipment, exploring the ways in which aquaculture will earn its seat at the table in the future of food”. Even though they were located in such a remote location, they were determined to not let this stop them from adopting and implementing sustainable innovations into their farming.

Kvaory Artic has now been passed down three generations and is run by the 3 Olsen great-grandchildren. They have carried on the mission to create a thriving sustainable salmon business. When speaking with Jennifer, she pointed to the SDG goals and the FAO goals at the UN that state aquaculture will be the most important industry for producing sustainable protein, as the planet grows to 10 billion people in 2050. This goal is what they live by every day. And there is never a time where they are not trying to make their company more and more and more sustainable”. They are constantly trying to innovate sustainably in all areas of their operation and carry on the spirit and mission of their great-grandfather.

Overall impact

Kvaroy has seen dramatic short-term progress using their techniques to grow salmon. They are now able to feed salmon with nearly 95% less food by weight when compared to wild salmon, and 50% less than conventional farming. The feed also keeps key components that contribute to the health benefits salmon has to offer, such as high concentrations of Omega-3's. Additionally, a partnership with Google led to new AI technology that helps identify individual fish that have contracted disease-carrying sea lice. The invention then uses lasers from a company called Stingray that are minimally invasive to the fish to effectively remove the lice. Traditionally, sea lice are treated with antibiotics, but this is not ideal to use in protein that will be eaten, as well as not sustainable to put into the ocean. The use of these lasers is able to eliminate the need for antibiotics.

One of Kvaroy's strengths is that many of their practices can be implemented in other salmon farms and they share this information with anyone, including what feed they use, how they defend against disease, and why blockchain technologies are useful for food products. This means that the long-term effects of the practices Kvaroy has developed can be scaled immediately to other salmon farms, and eventually to other fish industries. As the population grows, aquaculture may prove to be a key component of global food systems. Making sure that we are using resources efficiently is crucial to meet pollution goals while simultaneously feeding more people.

What Kvaroy has done is show that sustainable salmon farming can now be done at a commercial scale. Now the largest supplier of salmon to Whole Foods Markets, Kvaroy ships all over the nation and reinforces that we can continue to innovate our food systems. Furthermore, achieving a net gain in fish protein by only needing half a pound of feed to produce a full pound of fish is a testament to the many smaller successes that supported that. By being a pioneer in the food-related blockchain space, Kvaroy reminds us that it’s also important to be transparent about where food is coming from. This comprehensive approach to purposeful salmon farming will lay the foundation of what future food production looks like.

Business benefit

As the first people in the world to farm salmon, Kvaroy’s continuously evolving techniques and approaches have truly survived the test of time from a financial sense. One of the most noticeable differences between farmed salmon and wild-caught salmon is a large price gap which some consumers are willing to pay because of the health benefits coming from the wild fish’s diet. Kvaroy’s choice to make higher quality feed for the salmon in their farms is an integral part of their core business model, which has propelled them to earn an excellent professional reputation among their customers. This is an excellent example of how sustainable practices can directly lead to higher quality products and boost market share.

The costs of their feeding process constitute roughly half of their total operating costs, which could certainly be reduced if shortcuts were taken in this area. However, their choice to invest in producing a high-quality product through methods that are beneficial to the future of sea life as a whole has made them the only distributors of farmed salmon to Whole Foods. Their blockchain tracking system has also allowed them to develop a wide variety of salmon products including hot dogs and hamburgers without sacrificing consumer confidence that they are getting the same Kvaroy fish they know and love.

SHORT TERM EFFECTS

Kvaroy has seen dramatic short-term progress using their techniques to grow salmon. They are now able to feed salmon with nearly 95% less food by weight when compared to wild salmon, and 50% less than conventional farming. The feed also keeps key components that contribute to the health benefits salmon has to offer, such as high concentrations of Omega-3's. Additionally, a partnership with Google led to new AI technology that helps identify individual fish that have contracted disease-carrying sea lice. The invention then uses lasers from a company called Stingray that are minimally invasive to the fish to effectively remove the lice. The purpose of this is to reintroduce some of the natural deterrents salmon utilize in the wild.

LONG TERM EFFECTS

One of Kvaroy's strengths is that many of their practices can be implemented in other salmon farms and they share this information with anyone, including what feed they use, how they defend against disease, and why blockchain technologies are useful for food products. This means that the long-term effects of the practices Kvaroy has developed can be scaled immediately to other salmon farms, and eventually to other fish industries. As the population grows, aquaculture may prove to be a key component of global food systems. Making sure that we are using resources efficiently is crucial to meet pollution goals while simultaneously feeding more people.

EVIDENCE OF IMPACT

What Kvaroy has done is show that sustainable salmon farming can now be done at a commercial scale. Now the largest supplier of salmon to Whole Foods Markets, Kvaroy ships all over the nation and reinforces that we can continue to innovate our food systems. Furthermore, achieving a net gain in fish protein by only needing half a pound of feed to produce a full pound of fish is a testament to the many smaller successes that supported that. By being a pioneer in the food-related blockchain space, Kvaroy reminds us that it's also important to be transparent about where food is coming from. This comprehensive approach to purposeful salmon farming will lay the foundation of what future food production looks like.

Social and environmental benefit

Our relationship with seafood and aquaculture has evolved, consumption with the oceans is not nearly as sustainable as it once was. Bushman states “Sustainability is only as good as you are able to sustain yourself, we have a responsibility to pass this down to our future generation”, emphasizing the role that we must take to protect the future of aquaculture.

Kvaroy has recognized the crucial issues that are traditionally elaborated with regard to the sustainability of aquaculture, and have set stringent standards to run their sustainable operation. With consideration of local environments as well as their overall global footprint, Kvaroy has committed to reducing their carbon and water footprint, that of which is far lower relative to other major aquaculture companies. They have a strong dedication to keep their waters pristine, and to continue their quest to create the most sustainable and humanely raised salmon possible. Kvaroy focuses their attention on making decisions with concern to the overall wellbeing of society and has embarked on a journey to perform beyond industry standards, acting as a role model within the aquaculture industry.

Interview

Jennifer Bushman, Sustainable Aquaculture Expert

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Kvarøy Arctic

Kvarøy Arctic

Indre Kvarøy, NO

Business Website: https://www.kvaroyarctic.com

Year Founded: 1976

Number of Employees: 11 to 50

Kvaroy (pronounced Kwa - Ray) is a responsible aquaculture company based in Norway. Kvaroy Salmon Farming is a company that examines all aspects of salmon farming and innovates to make it healthier for the consumer and for the planet compared to other salmon farms and wild-caught salmon.