CtrlAQUA is a centre for research-based innovation (SFI) doing research on closed-containment aquaculture systems. The main goal is to develop technological and biological innovations that will make closed systems a reliable and economically viable technology.

Closed systems can be land-based where water is recycled, or sea-based, in which large floating tanks receive clean water from depth. In CtrlAQUA the research is dealing with both approaches.

Download fact sheet about CtrlAQUA (English and Norwegian), updated on September 2018.

The research focus is on the most sensitive phases for the salmon in the production cycle, such as the first seawater phase, the so-called post-smolt stage. However, this research is also very relevant for production all the way to harvest size in closed systems. The main innovation we are working towards in CtrlAQUA is to establish reliable and efficient production of post-smolts in closed systems on land or at sea. Thus, the industry can get a good and realistic alternative or supplement to the current production technology using open cages.

The centre will also contribute to better production control, fish welfare and sustainability in closed-containment farms. This will happen through development of new and reliable sensors, minimizing environmental impact through recycling of nutrients and reduce the risk of escape, and diseases transmission to wild stocks.

These innovations are of considerable value to the Norwegian society, since closed systems for strategic phases in salmon farming can help to make the vision of an eight-fold growth in value creation from aquaculture possible, and lead to increased number of jobs and production of healthy seafood.


In the report “Value created from productive oceans in 2050”, aquaculture is expected to increase five-fold in volume and eight-fold in value. The Norwegian authorities and salmon industry work towards this vision.

However, there are challenges that may hinder achievement of this goal, such as sea lice, diseases, escapes, and the loss of fish through production.

Innovations in closed-containment aquaculture systems, where the salmon is separated from the outside environment by a tight barrier, can be important for further development of aquaculture.

“We are delighted that we have been granted funding for research in this field, with innovation as its goal. We have a broad network of scientists, suppliers and the aquaculture industry in this centre, and all are eager and expectant,”
“Bendik Fyhn Terjesen, Director CtrlAQUA”

Bendik Fyhn Terjesen, Senior Scientist in Nofima at Sunndalsøra and Centre Director CtrlAQUA SFI until 1 October 2017. Photo: Terje Aamodt©Nofima.

Nofima AS is the host institution of CtrlAQUA, and is collaborating with research partners UNI Research AS, the University of Bergen, University College of South-East Norway, and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). Research partners from outside Norway are the Conservation Fund Freshwater Institute, USA and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

User partners from the supplier industry are Krüger Kaldnes, Pharmaq Analytiq, Pharmaq, Oslofjord Ressurspark, FishGLOBE, Botngaard Systems, Storvik Aqua and Aquafarm Equipment.

Participants from salmon farming companies are Marine Harvest, Grieg Seafood, Lerøy Seafood Group, Cermaq Norway, Bremnes Seashore, and Smøla klekkeri og settefiskanlegg.