Collaboration on development of sustainable aquaculture

Sustainable aquaculture
In Sanggou bay (Shandong Province) kelp and shellfish are farmed from long-lines covering large areas of the coast.

There is a growing international concern about how to develop solutions for sustainable aquaculture governance. The positions of China and Norway in the field are strong, and there is a huge potential for complementary activities in the quest for knowledge and development of future food security and healthy marine environments.

The Norwegian Institute of Marine Research (IMR), the Yellow Sea Fishery Research Institute (YSFRI) in Qingdao and the Chinese Academy of Fisheries Sciences (CAFS), have developed a platform for collaboration on environmental and aquaculture governance. Through more than 35 years of cooperation between these institutions, aquaculture research has steadily developed. China is now facing new policies on aquaculture management. 

Exchange visits of young scientists have been central for the collaboration along with thematic workshops. One example is the numerical hydrodynamic model, the Yellow Sea Model (YSM), implemented in the Yellow Sea to improve understanding of how currents and environmental conditions, like temperature changes, affect culture species. YSM is based on a model used on the Norwegian coast, currently applied as fundament for major management efforts to combat the salmon lice impacts on the wild salmon. The young scientists at YSFRI, educated through a PhD program at the University of Bergen, are also supported by Tianjin University, the Chinese Scholarship Council, the Research Council of Norway and Chinese industry. 

Another activity involving young scientist exchange, relates to how future climate change and ocean acidification can be mitigated by culture of kelp and shellfish together in IMTA. Working in the Sanggou bay in China and at Austevoll research station in Norway, the scientists provided knowledge on carbon flux between kelp and shellfish. Sanggou bay is a unique site for such field studies, since there are no other places with similar large-scale culture of seaweed and shellfish. The Austevoll research station provides state-of-the-art equipment to investigate the interaction between kelp and shellfish ( This collaboration improved the competence on carbon dynamics related to climate issues, which is also relevant for the development of IMTA. 

Parts of this collaboration involved an extended international perspective through the EU-HORIZON 2020 project “Ecosystem Approach to making Space for Aquaculture” (, as both YSFRI and IMR are partners in this project. Management principles applied for Norwegian aquaculture has been central contributors for more than a decade. These are expected to influence decisions leading to the development of sustainable management of mariculture in China.