IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this book

Breeding programs on Atlantic salmon in Norway: lessons learned


  • Thodesen, J.
  • Gjedrem, T.


An early establishment of selective breeding programs on Atlantic salmon has been crucial for the success of developing efficient and sustainable salmon farming in Norway. A national selective breeding program was initiated by AKVAFORSK at the beginning of the 1970s, by collecting fertilized eggs from more than 40 Norwegian river populations. Several private selective breeding programs were also initiated in the 1970s and 1980s. While these private programs were initiated using individual selection (i.e. massselection) to genetically improve growth, the national program was designed to gradually include all economically important traits in the breeding objective (i.e. growth, age at sexual maturation, disease resistance and quality traits) using a combined family and within-family selection strategy. Independent of which selection strategy and program design used, it is important to secure and maintain a broad genetic variation in the breeding populations to maximize selection response. It has been documented that genetically improved salmon from the national selective breeding program grow twice as fast as wild Atlantic salmon and require 25 per cent less feed, while salmon representing the private breeding programs all show an intermediate growth performance. As a result of efficient dissemination of genetically improved Atlantic salmon, the Norwegian salmon farming industry has reduced its feed costs by more than US$ 230 million per year! The national selective breeding program on Atlantic salmon was commercialized into a breeding company (AquaGen) in 1992. Five years later, several private companies and the AKVAFORSK Genetics Center (AFGC) established a second breeding company (SalmoBreed) using breeding candidates from one of the private breeding programs. These two breeding companies have similar products, but different strategies on how to organize the breeding program and to disseminate the genetically improved seed to the Norwegian salmon industry. Greater competition has increased the necessity to document the genetic gain obtained from the different programs and to market the economic benefits of farming the genetically improved breeds. Both breeding companies have organized their dissemination to get a sufficient share of the economic benefits in order to sustain and improve their breeding programs.

Suggested Citation

  • Thodesen, J. & Gjedrem, T., 2006. "Breeding programs on Atlantic salmon in Norway: lessons learned," Working Papers, The WorldFish Center, number 38744, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:wfi:wfbook:38744

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    Biotechnology; Genetics; Food fish; Genetic drift; Genetic diversity; Aquatic animals; DNA; Selective breeding; Breeding success; Research programmes Salmonidae;

    JEL classification:

    • Q00 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - General


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wfi:wfbook:38744. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (William Ko). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.