Skretting Sustainability Report 2022

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Health & welfare

This pillar of RoadMap 2025 is primarily focused on antimicrobial resistance (AMR). We address this by innovating new products and services that directly reduce the dependence on antibiotic use.

In this section, we provide numbers on the use of antibiotics throughout our business, and discuss dilemmas and opportunities in the area of health and welfare. We also highlight some initiatives happening around the world.

Our targets and progress

No preventive* usage of antibiotics in our products and services.


No use

* Ensure no preventive usage of antibiotics in our products and services. Any order of medicated premix/feed should be accompanied with a valid prescription from an authorised professional.

No use of antibiotics for growth promotion in our products and services.


No use

Absolutely no use of antibiotics categorised by WHO** as “Critically Important for Human Health” (CIA) in our products and services.


In 2022 Skretting used less than 2,000 kg of CIA active ingredient, equal to 0.01% of total feed sales. All of the feeds sold were prescription based.

** as published in “Critically important antimicrobials for human medicine: 6th revision” 

Antimicrobial resistance

A long-held part of Skretting’s global sustainability strategy is the ambition to address the risks associated with antimicrobial resistance (AMR). This includes supporting a reduction to the use of antibiotics within the aquaculture value chain, and the elimination of specific groups of antibiotics, specifically ‘critically important antibiotics’ (CIAs) by WHO.

We believe that a holistic approach to animal health, whereby the prevention of challenges is promoted through farming best-practices, is far better than providing a cure. Our aim is to establish industry-wide progress with regards to tackling AMR through the development of innovative products and services that directly reduce the farmers’ dependence on antibiotic use. We do this by partnering with our customers and focusing on the major issues that are driving antibiotic use.

Additionally, we focus efforts on providing robust solutions for alleviating disease challenges that have been historically difficult to control through vaccination, and are responsible for high antibiotic use in the industry, such as Salmonid rickettsial septicaemia (SRS) in Chile and Photobacteriosis and Lactococcosis in Southern Europe.

Because feed is an important component of sustainable, preventative health management, Skretting provides optimal nutrition for all farming cycles of aquatic species, including innovative nutritional solutions that contribute to disease management.

Integrated and holistic approaches should also comprise best management and husbandry practices, continuous surveillance and early and accurate diagnosis, the implementation of biosecurity and disinfection procedures in the production sites, systematic vaccination and the responsible use of medicines when treatment is needed.

Our approach to addressing the risk of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has not changed during the last years. The aim is to focus on the major industry issues and innovate, together with customers and other partners, with the development of new products and services that will directly reduce dependence on antibiotic usage in animal husbandry.

Whiteleg shrimp tail

Disclosure of antibiotic use per country

Animals have a right to receive treatment when they are sick, and medicated feed remains the preferred method to administer antibiotics to farmed fish and shrimp. Skretting provides medicated feed only on prescription from a veterinarian. There are relatively few antibiotics registered for aquatic animals, and we do not choose which will be used. However, we do have a network of health experts, and through our technical team we work closely with our customers to share knowledge and discuss alternative treatments or vaccines.

In some cases, a CIA is the only antibiotic that works and/or is available to treat specific diseases. This poses a further dilemma - we could stop producing feed containing antibiotics, but by doing so we risk pushing antibiotic application further down the production chain, for example farmers applying medication to the feed on-farm. These methods can pose a much greater challenge in combatting antimicrobial resistance. In contrast, when we apply antibiotics in our facilities, we do it in a safe and controlled environment where our workers are protected, and the f inal dose is measured, and the production is done with high quality standards.

In 2022 we recorded a decrease to the amount of medicated feed with antibiotics and medicated feed containing CIA as percentage of our total feed sales compared to 2021. Across our global business, less than 2 000 kilograms of CIA were prescribed and added to feed, representing a 28% reduction. For other antibiotics, the inclusion of active ingredients was reduced by 35%.

In 2022 we recorded a decrease to the amount of medicated feed with antibiotics and medicated feed containing CIA as percentage of our total feed sales compared to 2021.

In 2022 we started building a real-time overview of antibiotic-containing products we sell across our business. With this in place, we can react faster, identify geographical area differences and connect colleagues across the world to learn from each other.

In general, the aquaculture industry has been reducing antibiotics over many decades, and naturally there are yearly differences in antibiotic usage depending on disease outbreaks. Even in challenging circumstances with high summer temperatures and scarcity of water, farmers managed their production with less antibiotics with better farm practices.

Percentage of total feed with prescribed antibiotics in 2021 and 2022 table
Percentage of total feed with prescribed antibiotics in 2021 and 2022
The application of prescribed antibiotics per country as a percentage of total feed produced
*The main reason for the high usage of antibiotics in Chile is to address septicemic rickettsial syndrome (SRS) challenges, as traditional vaccines and therapies have proved inefficient in dealing with this particular bacterial disease. The latest figures provided by the Chilean authority (Sernapesca), revealed that SRS was responsible for 95% of the antimicrobials used in sea water during the first half of 2022

Solutions and initiatives

Armor - tailored for skin health

Armor.pngSkretting Norway has reported results of its functional feed, Armor, together with our customer Nordlaks in the north of Norway. Fish fed Armor showed significantly less damage to skin and 50% lower mortality.

Over several winter seasons in Norway, farmers have experienced significant challenges with wounds and reduced skin health. Skretting Norway worked to address this challenge based on new and established knowledge of skin and feed ingredients.

“Nordlaks, like most other players in the industry, experiences that classic and atypical winter sores that are important causes of reduced welfare and mortality in salmon in the sea phase. We therefore wanted to try Armor. This gave good results,” said Camilla Robertsen, Fish Health Biologist at Nordlaks.

Bafador - old technology in a modern industry

BBafador.pngacteria that may cause issues during stressful situations are naturally present in fish and shrimp farm environments. Stressors can include a change in temperature, season and handling. These events can allow for opportunistic bacteria to develop and cause issues.

In 2022 Skretting and Proteon worked to develop a new feed additive in India. The feed additive contains naturally occurring organisms - called phages, to target specific bacteria.

Used ahead of challenges, the product can support fish to cope with challenges from aeromonas and pseudomonas. When natural health solutions can be applied it reduces dependence on antibiotics and ensures that they will function as desired against future challenges.

Cermaq and Skretting work to reduce Chile’s antibiotic use

Cermaq.pngChile is the second-largest producer of farmed salmon in the world, and the sector has historically used relatively high amounts of antimicrobials during the marine stage of production, mainly florfenicol (FFC), to control SRS.

Through a new collaborative project, Skretting has been working with salmon producer Cermaq to establish viable ways in which Chilean salmon farming can reduce its antibiotic use. Together, the industry partnership is looking at ways to optimise the FFC treatment regime against SRS in terms of the medicine dose and duration of treatments. The aim of these endeavours is to avoid the use of high doses of FFC when it’s not necessary.

This project is seeking to capitalise on both companies’ knowledge on FFC pharmacology and their unique SRS field experience.

The hope is that together – and with the introduction of other management best-practices – this will become part of Cermaq’s holistic strategy to manage SRS.

The project is currently evaluating test feed treatments in Atlantic salmon, including different FFC doses and special medicine carrier feeds. Furthermore, discussions have begun about the possibility of using this close working collaboration to tackle other disease challenges, including tenacibaculum.

“Antibiotic reduction is a key element in our fish health strategy in Cermaq Chile to secure the sustainability of Chilean salmon industry. We really appreciate initiatives from our feed suppliers supporting this goal.”

Meeting the precise phosphorous requirements of farmed shrimp


Phosphorus is one of the most important minerals in food crop production, as a core component of fertilisers and also in animal nutrition. All vertebrates have a basic requirement for it – for the formation of bones and teeth, and to make protein for the growth, maintenance and repair of cells. Therefore, for farmed fish and shrimp, inorganic phosphorus must be supplied in sufficient quantities to meet their growth and health requirements. 

At the same time, it is important that these phosphorous requirements are not exceeded to minimise the risk of excess phosphorus causing damage to environments and ecosystems. In aquaculture, for example, the oversupply of phosphorus can lead to eutrophication of water and harmful algal blooms, particularly in shrimp ponds where the water exchange is limited.

Furthermore, with an estimated 90% of inorganic phosphorous being used in the global food chain to fertilise crops, the amount available for other uses, such as aquaculture, is limited. Thus, to sustainably produce enough nutritious food to feed the planet, this valuable resource must be used as efficiently and responsibly as possible.

To ensure the shrimp farming and shrimp feed sectors contribute to this aim, Skretting has conducted R&D work to precisely determine shrimp species’ phosphorus requirements at different life stages – to safeguard fast growth rates and maintain health, and also how to best use the raw materials available to meet those requirements.

Through this programme, which was conducted over four years and involved many documented trials, Skretting determined that it could uphold the industry-leading performance of its extruded shrimp feeds while using 37% less inorganic phosphorus. Consequently, it is also able to reduce the environmental phosphorus inputs of its customers’ farms.

Phytase improves the uptake of phosphorus and zinc

Pellets.pngSalmon need phosphorus to grow, and Skretting has not only optimised the phosphorus requirements for shrimp, but also revealed a new way to maximise the available phosphorus from other sources in salmon feed, and thereby increase efficiency.

Phytase is an enzyme that can unlock phosphorus bound up in phytic acid, which is indigestible to animals with a single compartmented stomach. If added to feed, a significant portion of plant-bound phosphorus becomes available.

“By adding phytase to feed, we are mimicking what bacteria does in the rumen of cows,” says Marcus Søyland, Product Manager for closed aquaculture systems in Skretting Norway. “When salmon can obtain more of the phosphorus they need from plant materials, we can reduce the amount of added phosphorus and ease the demand for this already limited resource.”

Less added phosphorus in the feed also means a reduced release of phosphorus to the environment. As an extra bonus, zinc also becomes more available for absorption when phytic acid is broken down. Zinc plays a crucial role in wound healing, and skin health is an increasing challenge. Phytase is already in use in feed for freshwater trout, and will now be applied in feed for salmon, both in freshwater and seawater.

Skretting AI Guayas Research Station - taking Ecuador’s shrimp farmers to the forefront of sustainable food production

InGuayas graphic.png 2022, aiming to fast-track the shrimp farming industry’s introduction of more sustainable and innovative feeds, Skretting Aquaculture Innovation (AI) opened its Guayas Research Station in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

The new EUR 6.1 million facility – a world-class R&D station that is fully dedicated to shrimp farming – establishes the ideal platform for Skretting to further expand its knowledge of shrimp nutrition and health, and to apply this intelligence on-the-ground in one of the global seafood economy’s most important shrimp producing regions.

Incorporating the latest technologies, the station comprises fully equipped laboratories and state-of-the-art experimental units that will perform critical trials on whiteleg shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei). Additionally, it houses a number of tanks that will allow multiple studies to be conducted in conditions that mimic commercial production environments.

Skretting AI Guayas Research Station will study all stages of shrimp production – from larvae through to harvest size animals. Simulations and evaluations will include health and welfare parameters, as well as growth and feed efficiency. Another key focus area is the digestibility of new and existing feed ingredients and balanced diets. For this purpose, sophisticated biotechnologies will be implemented and further developed.

The new station’s team will have the on-hand support of Skretting’s global network of scientific experts and its overarching global research units. Together, they will help Skretting Al Guayas Research Station better understand how shrimp can be helped to grow faster and larger and be more resilient to disease and environmental challenges so that innovations can be developed that turn these crucial findings into practical industry solutions.

Opening the new facility, Skretting’s Innovation Director, Alex Obach, said, “I am delighted that Skretting Al Guayas Research Station is now open for business. This world-class facility underlines our commitment to Ecuador and the wider global shrimp market. Not only will it allow us to work much closer with the local producers, but by establishing a pipeline for the delivery of new solutions that improve farming performance and efficiency, it will ensure that shrimp producers everywhere can increasingly contribute to global food and nutritional security.”

Next: Climate and circularity

This pillar of RoadMap 2025 is primarily focused on reducing our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. To do this, we utilise science-based targets to set our ambitions for reducing emissions through energy efficiency programs and sustainable ingredient sourcing, incorporating lifecycle assessment methodologies as well as utilising new ingredients

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Health & welfare
Climate and circularity
Good citizenship