The section is led by Trine Dale

NIVA has its own research group in aquaculture that has:

  • Academic weight combined with good knowledge of the aquaculture industry
  • Professional breadth and good cooperation across both the sections and NIVA's other expertise
  • An interdisciplinary and practical work method
  • A comprehensive approach
  • Good Analytical Facilities and Accredited Laboratory (ISO ISO-IEC 17025, OECD Principles of Good Laboratory Practice)
  • NIVA's project implementation is certified according to ISO9001: 2008 standard.



NIVA works nationally and internationally with industry actors, government and other research communities to promote sustainable aquaculture industry. It is central to us to help ensure that the part of our shared water resources devoted to aquaculture purposes is optimally used, and with the least negative impact on the environment.

NIVA can therefore be a useful partner in research, consulting and investigation of issues related to the establishment, operation and further development of businesses.

The NIVA Group also has several wholly-owned subsidiaries with solid expertise in aquaculture. Akvaplan-niva is the largest and has a large aquaculture portfolio both within advisory and R & D ( The subsidiary NIVA Chile has its head start in the NIVA aquaculture group and works with aquaculture and environmental projects in Chile ( NIVA Aquaculture cooperates closely with these companies, and several of our employees have, among other things, experience from Chile through work there.

Trine Dale Sjøanlegg bilde
(Photo: Trine Dale, NIVA)


Fish production and welfare

Monitoring and improvement of water quality, fish welfare, equipment documentation, development of new methods for water treatment. We can offer "Water Monitoring" of water quality with sampling every 14 days during a year or more customized plans.

  • Assistance in acute fish deaths in both porpoise and fish farms
  • "Preparedness" to ensure good water chemical documentation in case of acute fish death
  • Benchmarking of water quality on raw water and in construction - NIVA has a comprehensive database of data from smolt plants in Norway, Chile and the UK
  • Consulting related to different types of fish treatment in closed systems (eg assess water quality for use in freshwater treatment against AGD or lice)
  • Algal surveillance in freshwater and in the sea - quick feedback
  • Water quality advice when transporting live fish in wellboat / car in closed system

 Contact person: Åse Åtland 

Environmental Impact

  • B-investigations
  • Measurement of nutrient contamination and advice on necessary measures
  • Ecotoxicology testing (GLP) of aquaculture medicine and environmental risk assessment
  • Use of modern monitoring methods and sensors from fixed (bends and on-site) and mobile platforms (fixed-line vessels, wellboats and satellites).
  • Conslutning related to wastewater treatment, location, utilization (eg Aquaponics)
  • Investigation of the presence and spread of salmon lice in the sea

 Contact person: Trine Dale  


  • Consulting
  • Courses, for example in fish welfare (approved by the Norwegian Food Safety Authority)
  • Construction-specific water quality courses based on own data

NIVA works extensively with knowledge dissemination both to industry and through our collaboration with the University of Bergen where we teach water quality and fish health. NIVA has also produced textbooks about this theme, both in Norway and in Chile. The Norwegian book "Water quality and smolt production", which NIVA was the editor of, can be ordered via Juul Forlag.

In addition, in collaboration with many other R & D and industry actors, NIVA has prepared a booklet on water quality in recycling systems. This can be ordered here.

Contact person: Åse Åtland And Erik Höglund on course in fish welfare.

Photo L. Skryseth NIVA
(Photo: L. Skryseth, NIVA)


With concerns about sustainability and food safety as a backdrop, a team of European aquaculture experts has been awarded almost 7 million euros to establish new strategies and models that will contribute to sustainable growth in the aquaculture industry.

The TAPAS (Tools for Assessment and Planning of Aquaculture Sustainability) project is managed by the University of Stirling. TAPAS will develop cost-effective tools for the European aquaculture sector. Among other things, the tools should be used to assess the limits on how much aquaculture one can have in an area considering potential environmental impact, possible future risks and relationships with society. Professor Trevor Telfer of the Institute of Aquaculture is leading the project, which aims to establish a comprehensive "toolbox" that can support transparent and efficient licensing processes, help improve environmental sustainability and food security, as well as contribute to bring the great potential of food production and job. 

More information:

>> €7 million project to support sustainable growth in aquaculture

>> TAPAS project website (external link)

Contact person: Trine Dale


In October 2018, the first salmon were “imprisoned” in a brand new fish production prototype in Trøndelag, Norway. With a rigid steel construction and a water current generator included, the new fish cage Aquatraz will both prevent fish escapes and keep the fish in shape, while researchers from the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) are monitoring the sea lice and water quality in the cage.

More information: 

>> Aquatraz: A sea lice free salmon prison

Contact person: Sara Calabrese


When the level of marine oils is reduced and replaced with plant oils in the fish feed, the fatty acid composition changes the tissues and organs of salmon. Fat and specific fatty acids play vital roles in many biological functions, and altered composition of the fat in the feed can thus affect both growth, muscle quality and the health and robustness of the fish. This project looks into areas with inadequate knowledge, i.e. the need for omega-3 fatty acids, total lipid levels in the feed and omega-6 fatty acids for salmon health, especially under challenging environmental conditions. NIVA's role in the project is related to how environmental and nutritional factors affect behavioural and neuroendocrine stress responses. The project is a result of the joint announcement from the Research Council of Norway and the Fisheries and Aquaculture Industry Research Fund in 2016: Research to generate knowledge about salmon's health and welfare by changing the fatty acid composition in the feed.

More information at NOFIMA

Contact person: Erik Höglund

OPTINUTR (funded by FHF)

The project will provide new knowledge about what is optimal nutrition for salmon in the freshwater phase to get a robust smolt, thus potentially helping to reduce the loss in the early seawater phase. Such a reduction could give great benefits both in terms of animal welfare, reputation and economy for the aquaculture industry.

More information at FHF

Contact person: Erik Höglund

Åse Åtland smoltanlegg
(Photo: Åse Åtland, NIVA)

Central contact persons


Research Director
Åse Åtland
Tlf. +47 901 47 510

Expertise: Water quality, toxicity of metals, water treatment, fish farming in Chile


Research manager Aquaculture
Trine Dale
Tlf. +47 481 56 969

Expertise: Fish farming and environment, algae, marine ecology


Research Manager Ecotoxicology
Adam Lillicrap
Tlf. +47 982 15 407

Expertise: Testing of Aquaculture Medicine, Member of the European Medicines Agency Environmental Risk Assessment Working Party for the Committee of Veterinary Medicine Products, GLP Manager


Research Manager Environmental Chemistry
Malcolm Reid
Tlf. +47 948 89 545

Expertise: Monitoring drugs, including passive samplers





Last updated 19.05.2021