Forsøksdyr: Validating the use of tail beat activity tags to monitor farmed salmon swimming behaviour

Godkjenningsdato 01.10.2020

Godkjenningsperiode 23.09.2020-22.01.2021

1 Purpose
The purpose is to develop the use of tagged sentential fish as in cage bio-monitoring tools for real-time assessment of farm fish behaviour in exposed sea cage salmon aquaculture. This will involve calibrating activity tags attached to salmon to measure tail beat frequency to enable real-time measurements of swimming behaviour (i.e. swim speed and metabolic output). To achieve this goal, will first require validation of the use of activity tags to measure tail beat frequency in a controlled laboratory environment.

2 Adverse effects
Ensuring fish are maintaining normal swimming behaviour (swim speeds, metabolic rate) in sea cages is important for salmon welfare and optimal growth rates. Attaching activity tags to sentinel fish is a way to bio-monitor the overall health and welfare of all fish in a sea cage. Attaching activity tags to salmon may alter swim behaviour, buoyancy or elevated metabolic rate if fish are swum under duress for too long in the swim tunnel or into higher current flows.

3 Expected usefulness
Lab experiments are based on knowledge of previous experiments that have measured swimming behaviour of salmon in a swim tunnel. Detail information of tail beat frequencies observed and measured from tagged fish swum in the swim tunnel under different water velocities will enable calibration curves to be calculated, which will open the pathway for use of sentential tagged fish farm cages.

4 Number of animals and species
Farmed Atlantic salmon will be used in the swim tunnel experiment. The swim tunnel experiment will have two treatments and use a maximum of 12 tagged fish per treatment (2 treatments x 12 fish =24 fish in total).

5 How to comply with the 3R’s
Numbers of fish required for the swim tunnel trial is based on recommended sample size (n =12 per cage/ treatment) required to cover the variability in salmon behaviour observed in a standard sea cage and what may be necessary to create accurate calibration curves.