Aquaculture of Arctic charr and brown trout. Opening address

Sveinbjörn DagfinnssonRannsóknastofnun landbúnađarins, Búnađarfélag Íslands, Bćndaskólinn á Hvanneyri, Rannsóknastöđ Skógrćktar ríkisins, Tilraunastöđ háskólans í meinafrćđi og Veiđimálastofnun 1992Reykjavík

Ladies and gentlemen.

At the outset I would like to convey to the conference best regards from our minister of agriculture, Mr. Halldór Blöndal.

Over the entrance to the auditorium of the old administrarion building of the University of Iceland, you will find the inscription: “science will strengthen any deed”. This sentence is from a poem by one of the most beloved national poets of Iceland about a foreign scientist who did pioneering work in research and exploration in Iceland in the 19th century.

Our search for knowledge in order to build a better society and create new job opportunities may never cease. Due to better knowledge rationalization and new technology, the main parameters of production keep changing constantly. Thus, the number of persons directly employed in traditional agriculture continues to dwindle and productivity increases. This increased productivity has been achieved through research and development, which has in turn improved the economic performance in the agricultural sector in general.

In many areas people look to fish farming with hopes and optimism for profits and new jobs. Unfortunately we have had too many cases where people did not have the time or patience to gather adequate knowledge and experience before launching large capital intensive projects. This has especially been the case in salmon farming. The results have become all too familiar recently in a number of bankrupties among salmon farmers.

Many scientists believe that there may be a better economic and environmental niche for farming Arctic charr and brown trout here in Iceland and a few other cold areas suitable for this species. Most people agree that more caution needs to be exercised than has been the case in salmon farming.

In brief, all basic parameters should be studied carefully on a relatively small scale before major projects are launched. Besides genetics, feeding chemistry and diseases, we need to study the economic parameters carefully, especially the necessary investments in facilities and marketing possibilities. Therefore, this conference is particularly welcome and timely for us in this country in order to focus and compile in one place as much as possible of existing knowledge on the farming of trout and Arctic charr. I believe that the information and knowledge discussed and presented at this conference will be conveyed effectively to the field through the teachers, advisors and scientists for whom the meeting is mainly intended.

It is clear that the farming of Arctic charr and trout will increase in the near future in those parts of the world where the environment is suitable, that is areas that have plenty of high quality fresh water at stable low temperatures. I have heard forecasts for 2000 tons world production of Arctic charr in 1992 – that is next year. Hopefully, this production will be based on a sound knowledge of both the production and marketing side. Only then will this branch of fish farming provide the necessary economic returns, which again is the only real basis for the development of a future business. Hence, I am convinced that this conference will be a major contribution to national decision mak-ing as we take further steps in the commercial farming of Arctic charr and trout.

Here at this conference we will see and hear presentations by leading experts in the field. It is also equally important that the papers and proceedings will be published and thus made available to both companies, farmers and other interested parties outside this gathering of experts.

A cooperative gesture of EFTA and the EC provided the necessary funding for the conference. I wish to express our sincere thanks for this important contribution which made the conference possible. Also on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture, I wish to thank in particular those who took the initiative and prepared this conference.

We can be quite sure that this conference will be of broad interest and use.

I, hereby, declare the conference open.