Protect our oceans

Fish health and fish welfare

For the Group, fish welfare involves protecting fish against unnecessary stress and impact.

We care about our fish and accept our ethical responsibility that comes with animal farming. The Group's goal is qualitative and requires continuous monitoring and  targeted efforts throughout our farming value chain.

Disease management

Disease management is of essential importance for all animal farming. Within the Group, disease  management is based on a preventive operational practice, where the primary goal is to prevent problems before they occur.

Our work on disease management is based on  recognized principles. These are in turn based on  biological know-how and attitudes, in which training for our employees and a live internal control system lay the foundations for operations.  Disease prevention and management are monitored by authorized animal health personnel, who also play key roles related to Lerøy's continuous learning  and development of best operational practice.

We aim to farm fish with production conditions that safeguard the biological requirements of all species. We have vaccination programs for all our fish.

The main target for fish health and welfare is to increase fish survival rates from sea transfer to slaughter. All employees involved in fish farming take part in training focusing on fish welfare.

Fish welfare is developed and monitored by keeping use of  medicines to a minimum, with careful assessment of use, using only approved medicines which have  documented environmental impact in accordance with the  requirements of The Norwegian Medicines Agency, monitoring and documenting tolerance, and  following up biological feed factors.


Our fish welfare initiatives are comprehensive and  cover every part of our farming value chain.

Mandatory fish welfare training for all staff  comprise legislation, animal welfare, fish health  biology, stress, sedation and euthanasia. Other topics covered are natural behavior, environmental requirements, water quality and physiology.

Welfare indicators are used throughout the production cycle. At harvest stations, welfare  indicators are used prior to, and after stunning and bleeding. Indicators such as eye reflex and operculum movements are monitored continuously and recorded daily.

What measures do we take to handle the fish as gently as possible?

We use procedures as management tools for our production. The procedures help us to standardize events at each life stage, and they are updated as soon as we gain new crucial knowledge regarding fish welfare. In this way, the entire organization acquires the new knowledge quickly and efficiently.


Pumps, transportation pipes, sorting equipment and vaccination equipment are checked at regular intervals and any damage or defects are repaired before use.

During major operations such as vaccination and sorting, the fish is checked for any damage at regular intervals to detect defects in the equipment.

All components used during sea transfer are checked regularly. If situations arise where an increased incidence of mechanically inflicted damage is registered, delivery is stopped until the cause of the damage has been investigated and corrected.

Ongrowing stages:

During sea transfer, dead fish are controlled for mechanical damage that may have been inflicted in connection with the transport. If it turns out that there is presence of mechanically inflicted wounds, a review of the delivery process will be taken.

When fish are crowded during various forms of handling, we have our own procedure that describes how this is to be carried out to ensure fish welfare.

In all non-medical lice treatments, welfare screening of the fish is performed before and after it has been treated. In this way, we have documentation of the impacts for the fish, and whether measures may need to be taken to reduce the negative consequences or not.

Lump sucker

The company produces around 10 million Lump sucker per year. This implies a high ratio of self-supply, which in turn ensures predictability for deliveries and enables us to control targeted improvement measures, aiming to ensure predictability and biological  improvements for production.

Welfare for cleaner fish has been debated for some time, and we acknowledge the challenges involved in farming  cleaner fish. At the same time, we are aware that our  measures are moving us in the right direction, biologically. Our onshore production facilities have implemented improvement measures within operations  and biosafety, providing significant improvements to biology and cleaner fish welfare.

These measures encompass a wide range and comprise of:

  • Screening and selection of parent fish
  • Value chain regionalisation
  • Providing optimal environmental conditions
  • Providing optimal nutritional values
  • Improvements within logistics and handling
  • General biosafety measures such as input water disinfection, hygiene zones in time and space
  • Production biology

After transfer to salmon production sites, when the cleaner fish perform their function by eating salmon lice, we continue to experience challenges. The causes  of terminal losses are dominated by bacterial disease. 

Measures to prevent loss are:

  • Production planning and release strategy
  • Farming and keeping cleaner fish
  • Feeding strategy
  • Catching escapees and separation
  • Improvements to living environment, including use of shelter
  • Vaccination

The cleaner fish have the same requirements for  health. This is performed by authorised animal health personnel. Lump sucker are fed with special adapted  feed and harvested in the same way as salmon and rainbow trout.

Main goal:  Work for a better survival rate after transfer  to salmon production sites.

Main goal:  No disease and good fish welfare


Policy: Fish health and fish welfare

KPI: Fish health and fish welfare

Survival rate

Det er et vesentlig mål for oss å holde overlevelsestallene så høye som mulig. Tapt fisk er uønsket både fra et fiskehelseperspektiv og fra et finansielt perspektiv.  Vårt mål er derfor å få flest mulig individ gjennom hele produksjonsfasen.

Main goal:  Overlevelse i sjø siste 12 mnd ihht. GSI 94,5 % 


Policy:  Fish health and fish welfare

KPI:  Fish health and fish welfare

Zone cooperation 100%

All of our production localities take part in zone - based  cooperation with other farmers. This cooperation involves coordination of operations, collaboration relating to lice and disease management and other issues where the solution to the problem requires a joint, coordinated effort.

R&D Projects within Fish welfare and farming

The group participates in many different research projects in order to be at the forefront in terms of the best possible fish health and to implement new technology and expertise as soon as possible.

The various projects can be roughly divided into 3 different areas:

  • Sea lice
  • Medication
  • Survival

Most of our ongoing projects will fall into one of these groups.