Norway cut its use of antibiotics in salmon farming by a further 77 percent in 2019, despite a significant increase in production.
In 2018, around 0.69 milligrams of antibiotics were used per kilo of salmon produced. In 2019, the figure was 0.16 milligrams per kilo of salmon produced, according to a new report from UiT Norway's Arctic University.
"This is good," said Orjan Olsvik, a professor of medical microbiology at the university.
The reason for the low use of antibiotics is a focus on prevention and fish welfare combined with the fact that good vaccines are available, effective and used correctly, he said.
Another positive factor is that the industry now only uses two antibiotics: oxolinic acid and florfenicol and already has the lowest use of antibiotics of any aquaculture sector in the world.
"It reduces the possibility of resistance in bacteria that cause disease in humans," said Olsvik.
The sharp reduction in the use of antibiotics comes despite an increase in Norway's aquaculture production.
In 2019, according to Statistics Norway, a total of 1.4 million metric tons of farmed salmon was produced in Norway, an increase of 5.9 percent compared with 2018.
"In my world, where I have worked a lot with antibiotics, I would say that this is likely the most perfect protein production, without much use of chemicals and antibiotics," Olsvik told IntraFish.
Nevertheless, most people are still unaware of the low antibiotic consumption in Norwegian farming.
"When I talk to people, they perceive that the industry uses a lot of antibiotics. I think it is something that remains from the past, because in the '80s, we used a lot of antibiotics," said Olsvik.
"But compared to today's production, there is a huge difference."