IMR-CELL land-based facilities

Institute of Marine Research (IMR)

The Institute of Marine Research is the largest marine institute in Norway and covers marine living resources, marine environment and aquaculture. The main task is to provide advice to Norwegian authorities on aquaculture and the ecosystems of the Barents Sea, the Norwegian Sea, the North Sea and the Norwegian coastal zone. The aim of research and management advice provided by IMR is to ensure that Norway’s marine resources and aquaculture industry are managed and develop within a sustainable frame. IMR are making available the landbased (CELL) facilities within Matre Aquaculture Research Station in Matredal. IMR Matre Aquaculture Research Station has access to cultured and wild stocks of salmonids like Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout (only cultured fish), and Atlantic cod. In all these species, experiments can also be designed with full-sib and half-sib groups. The available Atlantic salmon stocks include wild salmon from several Norwegian rivers, and wild cod stocks. The facilities have been used for species varying from salmonids to halibut, cod, herring and horse mackerel, and has also been approved for a variety of other species (e.g. mackerel, capelin, hake, sand eel, saithe, sea bass, sea bream and krill). AQUAEXCEL3.0 visitors will be invited to work in conjunction with one of IMR’s eighteen research groups and if appropriate with existing research programs. Our experience is that a close integration of visitors is stimulating and lead to development of mutual ideas and networks. The researchers that work in aquaculture related topics produce more than 100 peer-review papers every year and create a stimulating scientific environment. IMR will designate a contact person and together with the liaison officer and personnel from the technical and biological support groups make sure that the visitors will be given the same support as the local researchers. This support includes full access to e-mail, internet, office facilities, computing library and chemical lab facilities. We can assist visiting scientists with accommodation nearby. IMR Matre Aquaculture Research Station has been a necessary part of the activities in several national projects and EU projects like PUBERTIMING, GUTINTEGRITY, WEALTH, FASTFISH, AKVAMAX, SALMOTRIP and LIFECYCLE and the scientists are involved in collaborative research with colleagues from within the EU and from North America, and we have frequent visits of guest scientists. Each year, trainees spend 1- 3 months training periods at our research facilities. The trainees are funded by EU programs such as Erasmus, as well as from development cooperation countries (e.g. South Africa, Cuba, Thailand and Indonesia), or from the industry. Several important scientific achievements have been obtained by the users of the infrastructure. The studies leading to a seasonal independent production of salmon smolts and photoperiod control of growth and sexual maturation in Atlantic salmon and cod must be highlighted.

IMR Matre

Infrastructure: IMR-CELL land-based facilities

Location: Matredal Western Norway, 80 minutes drive North of Bergen

Web site address:

Contact: Station Manager PhD Ragnar Nortvedt (


The land based facilities at IMR Matre Aquaculture Research Station have tanks with automatic feeding, photoperiod, salinity (0-35 ppt), temperature (1-20°C all year round), O2 and CO2 control. This environmental lab installation (CELL) is excellent for studies on fish welfare, growth, reproduction, and flesh quality, involving experimental parameters like diet, ration and photoperiod, in salinities ranging from pure freshwater to full salinity seawater and fish sizes from first feeding fry up to 2 kg. The tanks have waste feed collectors and some tanks have video cameras. These environmental labs can be followed and controlled over the web (through a vpn client). The facility comprises 80 tanks with 100 cm diameter. The experimental parameters are controlled by computers and can be regulated to preset values, or set to follow daily or seasonal cycles. The water quality is monitored by alarm systems (24-7), calling up the guard if needed. Meta-data from the water monitoring system are available for all the researchers

Services currently offered by the infrastructure

Fish behaviour and welfare is highlighted as one of major aquaculture research areas at IMR Matre Aquaculture Research Station. The major goals of this research area are to identify environmental standards that secure animal welfare, to create basic knowledge on relationships between the culture environment and the animals coping ability, to identify welfare indicators and methods to assess welfare and to develop and evaluate production strategies and technology that secure animal welfare and efficient production. Growth and reproductive physiology is a research area where IMR Matre Aquaculture Research Station is considered to be in the international front. The main goals of this work are to increase the knowledge about the environmental, physiological and molecular regulation of puberty, broodfish and egg quality, sex differentiation and muscle and skeletal development (including malformations). The CELL facilities at Matre are excellent for holding all stages of fish (including large broodstock), under natural and artificial photoperiod and temperature regimes. Studies of reproductive strategies in important fisheries species and how these are influenced by environmental factors and pollution is also possible. Feeds, feeding and flesh quality is a research area which has been developed in close cooperation with the industry. To increase the knowledge of how the feed influence the health, welfare and flesh quality are the main goal in this research area. The work has mainly been concentrated around micronutrient demands or pigmentation in salmonids and to evaluate potential alternative marine feed resources. The facilities at Matre make it possible to do these studies in small scale and also under full industrial scale. Biological mechanisms: The research facilities are excellent for aquaculture related studies, but are also designed to support research on biological and environmental studies related to wild stocks and fisheries. The temperature and CO2 control makes the facilities excellent for studies on climate related studies.

Modality of access

Because of the sophisticated design of this facility, the research activities are virtually independent of season and are only limited by the fact that some life stages are only available ‘in season’. From 2003 all the available facilities at IMR have been included in the institute’s main database. As a consequence, the facility description and availability can be accessed through the institute’s intranet. Today requests/proposals are registered by the scientists in this web-based system. IMR has also appointed a committee that meet every three months to evaluate the different requests and assign the different resources and experimental facilities to the proposed research activities. In cases where several requests for the same facility overlap in time the committee can give priority or suggest moving research activities in time. IMR will make sure that AQUAEXCEL3.0 visitors will be given the same priority as our internal users and if the visitor wants it, a high degree of independence to the normal research activities at the infrastructure. Visitor planning to perform experiments in the IMR Matre Aquaculture Research Station CELL facility will provide an experimental plan for their work which will enable planning of activities in relation to other activities.

Unit of access

Access to one tank during one week. A typical project at the Matre cell installation under AQUAEXCEL3.0 will have access to up to 16 tanks which normally are organized in an experiment with four treatments and four replicates. A normal experimental period will be 3 months and the visiting scientist will normally come to Matre for the first and last two weeks to start and finish the activity, respectively. In the period when the visiting scientist is not at the facility the experiment will be followed by the technicians at Matre, in close contact with the visiting scientist. The visiting scientist can follow the experiment on internet.

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