Summer Is Coming! Tackling Ocean Warming in Atlantic Salmon Cage Farming
ECOMARE, CESAM—Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies, Department of Biology, University of Aveiro, Campus Universitário de Santiago, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
Nofima AS, P.O. Box 6122, NO-9291 Tromsø, Norway
UCIBIO—Applied Molecular Biosciences Unit, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, Quinta da Torre, 2829-516 Caparica, Portugal
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 March 2021 / Revised: 11 June 2021 / Accepted: 14 June 2021 / Published: 16 June 2021
Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) has become a commodity worldwide. The culture of Atlantic salmon is by far the most well-developed branch of marine finfish aquaculture, with this species ranking among the top ten most highly produced in global aquaculture. While Atlantic salmon has been commonly farmed in sea cages located in colder waters (e.g., in Norway, Chile and Tasmania), these regions can experience the negative impacts of heat waves that push seawater temperature above values tolerated by this species. These climate-change-driven shifts in water temperature can be associated with mass mortality events and urgent actions are needed to cope with a changing ocean. This paper reviews the thermal limits of adult Atlantic salmon and lists the negative effects driven by heat stress. We highlight how biotechnology and the genetic diversity of wild populations may help producers to tackle this challenge. Selective breeding programs and other more advanced biotechnological solutions (e.g., gene editing) may play a key role in this quest to produce new strains of Atlantic salmon that more readily tolerate higher water temperatures, without compromising productivity and profitability.