New Rearing Methods

We develop and test new technologies for aquaculture production including shallow raceways, recirculation systems and aquaponics.

Environmental damage is a constant threat to outdoor open ocean cage aquaculture. Production costs for operators can quickly increase to unsustainable levels when environmental damage occurs. Our team of specialists have been at the forefront of developing new and improved rearing methods that are both profitable and sustainable for a variety of aquaculture species. These include hyper-intensive land-based aquaculture production technologies based on the recirculation aquaculture system (RAS) and the shallow raceways system (SRS) and aquaponics.

New and Improved Rearing Methods

The aquaculture research team coordinates several national and international projects for optimizing the culture of Atlantic salmon, Artic charr, sea bass, turbot and Atlantic cod. The team has extensive experience through successful projects within the 5-7 European Union Framework Programs for small to medium size businesses (SMEs). These developed technologies for commercial scale farming of sole (SOLEMATES), turbot (TURPRO), tench (PROTENCH), optimizing reproduction and spawning (PROSPAWN) of aquaculture fishes, improving feeding and feed efficiency in sea bass (eFISHent) and development of new production methods for turbot and sole (MAXIMUS). All these projects are user controlled projects utilizing the tight connection the Akvaplan-niva aquaculture research team has with the aquaculture industry both in Norway and abroad.

Recirculation Aquaculture System

Recirculation aquaculture systems, known as RAS are hyper-intensive, land-based systems which use resources more efficiently than traditional open ocean cage farming. The RAS system uses a series of culture tanks and filters where water is continuously recycled and monitored to keep optimal conditions year round. Our research team is involved in several projects to develop optimized RAS culturing systems. These hyper-intensive systems are also designed to reduce the consumption feed, water, oxygen, energy, and workload while increasing the production volume per employee.

Shallow Raceway Systems (SRS)

The shallow raceways system is a specialized type of RAS. The SRS uses racks organized in an optimal configuration to allow the efficient reuse or recirculation of seawater and with optional rearing at low and intermediate salinities. It is designed to achieve far better use of resources and is easily automated. Our research team is also working on further optimisation combining RAS and SRS technologies into a hybrid rearing system technology.


One of the drawbacks to recirculation aquaculture systems is water exchange. However, the rate of water exchange can be reduced through aquaponics, such as the incorporation of hydroponically grown plants and denitrification. This new concept for industrial aquaculture production is being investigated by our research team in cooperation with leading scientific and industrial partners.



Akvaplan-niva in Action

Turbot are successfully grown in a shallow raceway system. Akvaplan-niva is improving the operation and routine use of the shallow raceways concept. <span>Image by Albert Imsland</span>
Turbot are successfully grown in a shallow raceway system. Akvaplan-niva is improving the operation and routine use of the shallow raceways concept.Image by Albert Imsland

For More Information

Thor Magne Jonassen

Related Reading

Stocking Density and its influence on growth of spotted wolffish, Anarhichas minor, in shallow raceways.

Imsland A.K., S. Gunnarsson, A. Foss, B. Sigurðsson & S. Sigurðsson (2009)

Journal of the World Aquaculture Society 40: 762-770.

Flatfishes (turbot, halibut, sole and winter flounder).

Imsland A.K. (2009)

In: N. Le Francois, M. Jobling, M. Carter & P. Blier (eds). Finfish species selection for intensive aquaculture diversification. CABI Publishing, Oxford, UK. March 2010 / Hardback / 688 Pages / ISBN 9781845934941, pp. 450-496, 608-611, 631-633, 649-656.