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Topic: New marine resources for food and feed

Mytilus edulis   Førdefjorden   Engebøfjellet 22 04 2016 3

Mussels feed themselves by filtering the sea water.

Photo: Erling Svensen / Institute of Marine Research

Only two percent of the food we humans eat comes from the ocean. There is great potential to increase this proportion by utilizing more species that are currently little used for food and feed.

New marine resources can especially be found among species lower down in the food chain, so-called low-trophic resources – including algae like seaweed and kelp, algae-eaters like sea urchins, and filter-feeders like mussels. There are also opportunities to use more species a bit higher up in the food chain, like jellyfish and snow crabs.

These resources can either be used directly as human food or in feed for farmed fish or other animals.

Safe seafood and safe feed

The seafood we eat must be safe. The Institute of Marine Research monitors seafood and fish feed in Norway, and within the work on new marine resources, we need knowledge about both positive ingredients, contaminants, and infectious agents. Results from the monitoring can be found in our extensive database of Seafood data, which is updated with many of the new species.



The larvae of the black soldier fly are nutrient-rich and work well as insect meal in salmon feed. Researchers are testing whether the larvae can be fed on sludge from aquaculture facilities.

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Blue mussels

In recent years, cultivation of blue mussels in a one-year cycle for use in fish feed has started, providing new opportunities for blue mussel producers.


Sea urchins

Sea urchin roe (gonads) is a delicacy traditionally eaten in Asia, Polynesia, and around the Mediterranean. It has also become more common in many other countries, including Norway.

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Macroalgae (or "seaweed")

Macroalgae represent a diverse group of organisms that are primarily found in the sea or brackish water. There is a growing interest for cultivating or wild harvesting macroalgae for use in food and feed.

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Even though jellyfish have a centuries long history as food in Asia, we have little knowledge about them.

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Mesopelagic resources

Mesopelagic organisms are fish, crustaceans, jellyfish, and squid that live in the ocean between 200 and 1000 meters deep - are believed to be one of the world's largest untapped food resources.

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Calanus finmarchicus is a zooplankton that lives for about one year. The species resides in the Norwegian Sea.

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Sea cucumber

In Asia, especially in China, there is a long tradition of eating sea cucumber, and it has also been used in traditional Chinese medicine.

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Snow crab

Snow crab (or "opilio") has long been sought after as seafood where it was originally found. In the Barents Sea, fishing for snow crab began in 2012, after the first individual was discovered in 1996.

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Pacific oyster

Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) is an invasive species in Norway. It is currently found in several areas along the coast from Østfold to Hordaland.