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From left: Lars Ebbesson, Jon Vidar Helvik, Ivar Rønnestad, Sigurd Handeland og Sigurd Stefansson.
Text: pahoyden

Center for Sustainable Aquaculture Innovations (CSAI)

The Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture  Innovations (CSAI) is a consolidation of research groups at Uni Research Environment and Department of Biology at the University  of Bergen. The Centre will be an important  innovation platform to support sustainable aquaculture, through cross-disciplinary  research bridging the demands of future  aquaculture food production and multi- culture solutions. Equally important the  Centre will support important research- based educational programs such as the  new Aquaculture Integrated Master/Civil  Engineer program. The Centre will support  the Cluster in national and international  R & D & I initiatives/calls.

Center for sustainable aquaculture innovations (CSAI)
CSAI is a consolidation of the resarch groups Integrative Fish Biology (IFB), Molecular Ecology (MERG) and Marine Developmenttal Biology (MDB). Together they have established strong competence in many aspects of biology and aquaculture research, from basic science in molecular mechanisms in development, physiology and marine food web function, and structure related to natural fluctuations as well as climate change senarios, to applied research in assessment of fish quality and welfare as well as high throughput monitoring of anthropogenic impact in marine systems, and finally in the development of innovative projects with commercial spin-offs (e.g. TuniChor AS). Over the years, the collaborative history of these groups are extensive with a large project portfolio within regional, national and international projects.

Environment on fish function
Innovative fish rearing solutions are necessary to adapt to society´s demand for increased marine food production with reduced environmental footprint, changes in climate, resource availability and regulations. As new rearing strategies are developed, it is essential to acquire new knowledge about fish biology, production and welfare in combination with environmental monitoring. A central justification for establishing this centre is to improve scientific discoveries across disciplines.

Our vision is to develop innovatations to support sustainable aquaculture, through cross-disciplinary research bridging the demands of future aquaculture food production and multi-culture solutions. By establishing a “twin center” between Uni Research Environment (Integrative Fish Biology and Marine Ecology groups) and Department of Biology (Marine Developmental Biology, MDB), we will provide an integrative and comprehensive platform in fish biology to develop and assess innovative solutions for aquaculture. Our research groups found this center based on our extensive experience in basic and applied areas in fish biology, novel innovations with tunicates in fish aquaculture, and molecular ecological monitoring. Organizing this knowledge under one entity will not only strengthen these already well-established groups but also provide a unique forum for research and industry innovations.

Equally important will be to build a platform with an enthusiastic and creative environment that continues to educate highly qualified candidates through research-based educational programs such as the new Aquaculture Integrated Master/Civil Engineer program. Establishing a steady supply of highly qualified young researchers into academia and industry will permit more effective knowledge transfer and facilitate sustainable growth of modern aquaculture. Our joint group initiatives have already been validated in the new Centre for Researched-Based Innovation of closed-containment salmon aquaculture systems, CtrlAQUA. While this SFI is a central foundation of CSAI, the project growth expectations in association with the Centre are significant. The CSAI will be an important strategic building block for the University of Bergen and Uni Research in strengthening sustainable aquaculture activities with IMR and NIFES at Marineholmen and in the Bergen Marine Cluster in the coming years. The twin center will consist of thematic groups, focusing on different biological challenges of sustainable aquaculture and be centered around CtrlAQUA and the CSAI laboratory and core facility.

We aim to become an internationally recognised centre in sustainable aquaculture innovations and a magnet for highly motivated students. Our long-term goal is to increase our already extensive industry collaborations, and occupy a central position in national and international initiatives.