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Profitable Arctic charr farming in the Nordic countries

  • Published 16/01/2015
  • Last updated 23/01/2012
The main goal with this project is to enable economical and environmental ustainable growth in Arctic charr farming.

The project is completed. Download the final report here.


Main objectives:

The objective of the project was to reduce the production cost of Arctic charr by 10 -15% by reduction of the raw material cost of the feed by the following actions:

  • Reduction of the protein content in the diet according to the actual needs of the fish
  • Use more of plant protein raw materials instead of fishmeal  

The objectives of the project have been fully met through testing of diets with lower protein content and less use of fishmeal. The substitution of the fishmeal was partly done by use of well documented plant proteins (In Norway and Sweden) and partly by novel alternatives such as Canola meal (Iceland).



In the project the new types of feed were compared to commercial Arctic charr feed in tests at practical fish farms.

Following presentations of the results for the Icelandic Arctic charr farmers, Laxá feed mill ltd in Iceland which is the world´s leading producer of Arctic charr feed, has changed their commercial diets for Arctic charr in a successful way and thereby reducing the feed cost for their customers. Similarly, Polarfeed AS in Norway is working on adding new specially designed diets into their portfolio addressed for Arctic charr farmers in Norway and Sweden. So far, there has not been an opportunity to present the findings for Arctic charr farmers in Norway and Sweden.


Concrete results and conclusions:

The most important results of the project new feed compositions, giving 10 – 15% lower feed cost than the present commercial feeds in the marked, with minimum effects on growth and feed utilization.

Results from the tests and trials undertaken in the project confirmed that the protein need of the Arctic charr is lower than earlier anticipated. The results also show that Arctic charr can grow well on feed with much lower fishmeal content than used in the commercial diets.

The alternative diets have proven to give the farmers similar quality of the fish produced.

There were no marked effects of the new type of feed on the welfare of the fish or on the environment.


In addition to the two feed companies participating in the project, the Arctic charr industry in Iceland, which is world leader in production of Arctic chart, already has benefited from the project in the form of lower feed cost leading to lower production cost.



Based on results from the project, a reduced ratio of fishmeal and oil is recommended in Arctic charr aquaculture. However, this must be done through appropriate substitution alternatives. The future work in finding new raw materials to replace fishmeal and fish oil should take more into account the effects of the composition of the fish feed on the environmental footprint of Arctic charr aquaculture. This would be an issue for the fish feed producers and the aquaculture industry alike to work on in the future.  


Project owner:

Oddur Már Gunnarsson
Matís ohf., IS


Project leader:

Jón Árnason
Matís ohf., IS


Project members:

Helgi Thorarensen
Hólar University Collage, IS
Gunnar Örn Kristjánsson
Laxa Feddmill Ltd., IS
Hlífar Karlsson
Rifós Ltd., IS
Fannar Þorvaldsson
Fiskeldisstöðin Haukamýri, IS
Jan Olli
Polarfeed AS, NO
Oddbjørn Jarijervi
Kirkenes Char AS, NO
Eva Brännäs
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE
Josef Nygren
Umlax AB, SE


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