The rainbow trout is a predatory fish in the salmon family. It has a streamlined, silver-coloured body with black dots overall except for the abdomen, which means it resembles Atlantic salmon.
Farming of trout takes place along nearly the entire Norwegian coast, from Finnmark in the north to Vest-Agder in the south. The facilities are located in fjords with good water replacement which ensures optimal living conditions for the fish. The trout pens are located further inside the fjords than pens for Atlantic salmon, for example. Like Atlantic salmon, the trout starts its life in freshwater. Eventually when it has reached a certain size and has adapted to seawater, it is moved to pens in the fjords. It stays there until it has reached a slaughter-ready size of 2–5 kg.
Sales and farming of Fjord Trout take place year round.
The farming process begins in tubs on land, and the roe is fertilised in fresh water. When the eggs hatch, the fry nourish themselves with the yolk sac until this has been consumed, before they change to being fed with pellets. Eventually as the fry become larger, they are moved to larger tubs. When the fish have reached a certain size and have been through the so-called smoltification process, they are put out in pens in fjords to grow more there. The trout spend the rest of the time in the pens, right up until they have arrived at slaughter-ready size.
Technology and welfare
The history of success with Norwegian fish farming began with farming rainbow trout. The pioneering work which the first trout farmers did has been important for the rapid development we see in the aquaculture industry today. Today Norway has some of the most advanced technology solutions for ensuring good fish welfare and high quality.
The relationship of Norwegian fish farming to the environment is primarily regulated by the Norwegian Aquaculture Act. The Act specifies that aquaculture is to be established, conducted and wound up in an environmentally-responsible manner. Aquaculture is supervised by several authorities, such as the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries, the Norwegian Coastal Administration, the County Governor and the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate. There are several environmental certifications with stringent environmental, ecological, fish welfare, food safety and HSE criteria. The environmental certification for farming of rainbow trout is Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC).
Food safety and quality control
The Norwegian seafood industry is subject to stringent requirements in order to ensure food safety. It is a system consisting of several bodies which jointly examine and monitor compliance with the requirements in all stages of the production chain. The bodies which supervise food are the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, the Norwegian National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES), the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries and the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries.
A quality standard has been developed for Norwegian farmed trout, NS 9412:2010, which is intended to ensure consistent good quality.
Fjord Trout is especially rich in
- Protein, which builds and maintains all the cells in the body.
- Marine omega-3 fatty acids, which prevent and retard cardiovascular disease and are important for the development of the brain.
- Vitamin D, which is necessary for getting the right calcium balance in the body and which contributes to maintaining and strengthening the skeleton.
- Selenium, an important element in the enzymes that combat harmful chemical processes in the body.
The flesh of the trout is known for its deep red-orange colour and white marbling. The colour lies between 29 and 32 on the colour scale of SalmoFan™. The flesh has a healthy gloss and is firm, but nevertheless tender and soft. Trout is less exposed to fillet splitting because it has a tighter and firmer flesh structure than other red fish.
Trout is well-suited to many types of dishes. It is more sensitive to heating than salmon are and is well-suited in raw condition or in lightly heated dishes. It can be baked, grilled, fried or boiled. With the right handling, the trout becomes delicate and succulent. In addition, it can be cold smoked and hot smoked, used as a topping, for salads and pasta or in other combinations. Fjord Trout has a rich taste and a clean after taste which is reminiscent of shellfish.