Selective breeding of Norwegian Farmed Atlantic Salmon and Rainbow Trout

Trygve Gjedrem, født 1929. (Foto: Norges Landbrukshøyskole)

Trygve Gjedrem, born 1929. (Photo: Norway’s Agriculture College)

Harald Skjervold (1917 - 1995)

Harald Skjervold (1917 – 1995)

The breeding programs which were started on Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout in the 1970’s have played a deciding role in the success of the Norwegian aquaculture industry. Visionary pioneers started the world’s first breeding program for these farming species, and laid the foundation for today’s genetic material, which is well adapted to the demands of both producer and consumer.

AquaGen’s products are a further development of the work which was started by genetic researchers at Norway’s Agriculture College (NLH).

Professor Harald Skjervold at the Institute for Domestic Animal Breeding, NLH was the driving force in the work of introducing modern principles into Norwegian domestic animal breeding. He established a breeding station for rainbow trout at Dal in Romerrike. In the years from 1968-1970 material from rainbow trout was collected in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Later this breeding stock was moved to the selective breeding station at Sunndalsøra.

In 1970 Professor Harald Skjervold received permission to capture genetic strains of Atlantic salmon from 41 different rivers along the coast in order to establish a selective breeding program for Atlantic salmon. In the autumn of 1971 families were established from the first 12 rivers. From then on Professor Trygve Gjedrem, at the Institute for Domestic Animal Breeding, NLH had the responsibility for genetic research. These two men were visionary pioneers, and deserve much of the credit for the fact that today we have the world’s oldest and most refined genetic material for these two farming species.

You can read about the results achieved through selective breeding from the 1970s to the present here.