Farming trout

Aquaculture has a long tradition in Denmark. Today the most important farmed species is trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). The total production of trout is approximately 40 000 to 50 000 tons per year in fresh water and seawater in total. The eggs are taken from the parent fish in the hatchery in the period from October to April. The fry are after a few months, when their size is around 5-10 gr, transported to the smolt station with good freshwater supply and kept there for 12 to 18 months. Normally, at the beginning of spring, when the fish is naturally smoltified, the smolts are transported to large nets in the sea. The harvesting of the trout takes place in autumn and winter. After harvesting the trout is bled, gutted and packed fresh on ice or IQF-frozen within 5 to 10 hours.

The sea farming industry employs about 500 to 700 people in Denmark – most of them during the harvesting season – The sea farms are generally located in small harbours and islands, so locally the sea farming of trout is an important industry.

The sea farming of trout is done with respect to the environment. The use of antibiotics is reduced to a minimum, thanks to the vaccination of the fish. Moreover the farming is controlled throughout the entire production and the N- and P- loss to the environment has gradually decreased due to improved farming techniques. The development of the aquaculture is controlled by the Ministry of the environment and is developed on a mutual understanding between the Government and the sea farmers.

During the last ten years, the production has been reduced because of the introduction of very strict environmental regulations and today Denmark has the strictest environmental regulations for aquaculture. The fish is mainly exported as raw material for the fish industry worldwide. Locally the Danish salmon smoking industry is an important outlet for the sea farmers. However the trout is also reprocessed to a wide variety of value-added products, e.g. fillets, steaks, portions, grilled, marinated, hot smoked or ready dishes. In case of mature trout the roe is extracted and used for making salted roe, “sujiko”, or in various caviar products, “ikura”. Generally, aquaculture is one of the most environmental friendly farmed food industries due to a high feed conversion ratio and very reduced waste of N and P per kg meat produced. For this reason and because of the growing demand for high quality fish, the sea farming industry of fish is developing rapidly all around the world and Denmark is participating in this development.

More information on our organic farming here…