Salmon farming is a remarkable success story in the global fishing industry, with Norway at its forefront. This achievement, marked by the salmon industry's ability to overcome numerous challenges, serves as a beacon of inspiration and a reference point for various aspects of today's aquaculture. To comprehend the history of salmon farming in Norway, we can divide it into three distinct phases. The early stage, the rising stage, and the present period.

Marine fish farming in Norway had its beginnings with the experimentation of raising fish in net pens. This innovative approach allowed traditional fish farming to expand its capacity and improve its methods. However, with the increase in fish numbers per unit area, a new challenge emerged—diseases. Coping with this issue necessitated the development of a salmon species that was both suitable for farming and resistant to diseases. This led to the creation of the Atlantic salmon, which is now the most commonly farmed salmon species in Norway.

As fishing methods evolved, efforts to commercialize salmon farming began. A pivotal moment in the early years was in 1967 when Norwegian fisherman Erling Sundt successfully raised salmon in net pens within the Sognefjord. This experiment demonstrated the feasibility of large-scale salmon production in Norway. In 1971, the first commercial salmon farm was established in Titra, Norway, under the ownership of the Norwegian Salmon Farmers Association, which had been founded in 1964. Recognizing the potential of salmon, the Norwegian government established the Norwegian Fisheries Research Institute in 1968, pioneering salmon farming research. In 1973, the government enacted legislation to regulate salmon farming, aimed at safeguarding the environment and ensuring responsible farming practices.

The rising of Norway at the salmon farming

The period spanning from 1980 to 1990 marked significant growth in Norway's salmon farming industry, establishing the country as the world's leading salmon producer. This growth can be attributed to several factors, including increasing international demand for salmon, advancements in technology related to salmon farming, and government support for the salmon sector. As Norway prospered in salmon farming, it addressed diseases, and the industry is now considered safe. Nevertheless, like any cultivation, there are ongoing risks of epidemics, necessitating vigilant monitoring and control.

As Norway ascended in the salmon industry, other countries also made substantial progress. Among these competitors, Chile, with its milder climate and lower labor costs, stands out as the world's second-largest salmon producer. Scotland, a vital player with a history of research and development, is the third-largest producer. Canada, boasting a lengthy coastline, is the fourth competitor, contributing significantly to global salmon production."

Despite the challenges and market conditions, Norway excelled, surpassing 100,000 tons of salmon production in 1980 and 500,000 tons in 1990. By 2021, it had exceeded a capacity of 1.3 million tons. Today, Norway's salmon industry is a global leader, accounting for nearly half of the world's production. Employing over twenty-five thousand people and generating billions in Norwegian kroner in export revenue annually, the salmon industry plays a pivotal role in the country's economy.

Norway's salmon industry, primarily situated in regions with lower seawater temperatures and higher water quality, is subject to rigorous oversight by the Norwegian government through the Norwegian Food Safety Authority. The country has well-defined fishing regulations, and ongoing research and development efforts are conducted within this framework. The industry continues to evolve, aligning with goals such as using cleaner feed, reducing antibiotic usage, and implementing waste recycling, all in pursuit of sustainable seafood production.

Norway, with its strategic geographical location, is a major supplier of salmon to the European Union, the EU being the primary market for Norwegian salmon. In 2021, Norway exported eight hundred thousand tons of salmon to the European Union, with a total value exceeding €3B. Furthermore, the salmon industry is instrumental in generating tax revenue for Norway, contributing to public services, investments, economic growth, and employment opportunities.

Salmon farming in Norway is not just a success story for the industry; it also plays a significant role in supporting various sectors of the economy. The government's continued investments and belief in this sector ensure that Norway will remain a prominent player in global fisheries, benefitting the country's future in various aspects of fishing.