Organic trout ova/fry is already available from Danish hatcheries

One year ahead of the deadline for implementation of complete organic aquaculture life cycle - organic trout ova/fry is available from Danish hatcheries.

Photo: Villy J. Larsen

By Alfred Jokumsen, Senior Advisory Scientist, Technical University of Denmark, DTU Aqua, The North Sea Research Park, Hirtshals. Denmark.

Organic aquaculture production is one of the most dynamic food production sectors in Europe and the production has increased rapidly in recent years. Denmark is among the leading European organic aquaculture producers. The Danish annual production in organic aquaculture is currently about 1000 MT of rainbow trout and about 400 MT blue mussels and additionally production of organic seaweed and crustaceans has been initiated.

According to Commission Regulation (EU) No 1364/2013 the life cycle of all animals in organic aquaculture must be 100 % organic by 1st January 2016. The hitherto national organic rules in force have also been harmonized.

This request of exclusively organic fry from 2016 entails big challenges to the organic farmers. The organic rules only allow very limited treatments against diseases to keep the organic certificate. Fry is vulnerable to diseases and hence the robustness of fry to diseases is crucial. In particular this concerns one of the most serious trout fry diseases in Danish aquaculture, Rainbow Trout Fry Syndrome (RTFS).

To further strengthen and develop Danish organic aquaculture, a national funded research project, RobustFish (2014-2017) has recently been launched. The project focuses on organic robust trout fry to prevent disease and medical treatments. The project will also provide knowledge about market conditions for organic aquaculture products, consumer attitudes and development potentials for organic aquaculture. Further information at the project website.

The perspectives of the RobustFish project is that Danish organic hatcheries will be able to produce even stronger more healthy and stress resilient organic trout fry to underpin increased European organic trout production.

Details about RobustFish:

The project is carried out in cooperation between Technical University of Denmark (DTU Aqua and DTU Vet), University of Copenhagen (Dep. of Food & Resource Economics), University of Aalborg (Dep. of Development and Planning) and The Danish Aquaculture Organisation.

RobustFish is part of the Organic RDD 2 programme, which is coordinated by International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems (ICROFS). It has received grants from the Green Growth and Development programme (GUDP) under the Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries.

Read more about the project