|Sejong University officials participate in a food tasting event held on Feb. 5 to celebrate the school's successful salmon farming. / Courtesy of Sejong University|
By Jun Ji-hye
Sejong University has successfully carried out a test production of farmed salmon, paving the way to help the nation reduce imports amid growing demand for the fish, the university said Friday.
The school held a food tasting event, Feb. 5, to celebrate the successful test production, offering up salmon sushi, salmon rolls and other dishes made of the American steelhead salmon it farmed.
In 2019, more than 40,000 tons of salmon were imported to Korea from countries such as Norway and the United States, with the amount reaching 400 billion won ($338 million).
With the rapid increase in demand, the import volume and prices are expected to continue to increase this year, raising the need for the nation to find a way to replace imported salmon, the university said.
The school's salmon laboratory imported steelhead salmon roe from the United States and raised the salmon fry in fresh water. Then, the lab moved the fish to seawater and successfully produced 1.3 kilograms of salmon in 13 months, Feb. 4.
During the salmon farming, the lab has also attained numerous other achievements including functional feed development using insects and vaccine development for disease control.
The lab plans to develop industrial salmon farming technologies to mass-produce the fish, saying it will be a higher value-added industry.
With the global demand for salmon on the rise, local fish farms could be able to find export markets down the road, it added.
"We will expand academic-industrial collaborations to develop the salmon farming into the nation's new growth engine," a university official said.
The lab is the only research center specializing in salmonid species in Korea.
It is planning to diversify profit-making projects utilizing its technologies to farm salmon and produce vaccines and functional feed.
It said expanding salmon farms and mass-producing the fish will also create jobs.
Salmon is one of the most popular oily fish varieties along with sardines and tuna, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.