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The Norwegian College of Fishery Science hanne.bjerknes@uit.no +4777646283 Tromsø NFH C 418

Hanne Bjerknes


Job description

I am a first year PhD Student in nutrition, cardiometabolic and atherosclerotic effects. Associated with the research project SECURE "Novel Marine Resources for Food Security and Food Safety".

Secure – Novel Marine Resources for Food Security and Food Safety



Research interests

The world’s population is growing, in 2050 we will need about 70% more food than we do today, and we are sick, 1 in every 3 deaths is due to cardiovascular disease, and also, we are destroying the planet. So, how can we fix all these problems? These are the questions I will try to answer.

One crucial solution can be found in the sea because seafood consumption is found to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. However, the traditional sources of fish cannot satisfy the global human requirements of nutrients and especially omega 3 in the future. To produce enough seafood for the growing population, we are dependent on the continuous growth of the aquaculture industry.

One game-changer can be to capture fish at lower trophic levels. This is the food that bigger fish like salmon and cod eats. These food species are further down in the food chain and have a lower carbon footprint. As food production today is responsible for a significant part of the global environmental challenges, harvesting at lower trophic levels may have a tremendous impact on the environment. In addition to being more sustainable, the low trophic biomass represents much larger volumes than the traditional seafood sources.

The selected species I will be working with are Calanus finmarchicus, orange-footed sea cucumber, micro algae, seaweed, and mesopelagic fish. These are all novel low trophic arctic marine resources with emerging industries. We hope that in the end, we can conclude that these resources have health-promoting effects on cardiovascular disease that are similar to, or even better than, traditional seafood. Then we can harvest the ocean with higher ecological efficiency than what is done today – and then we may obtain significantly more biomass, food and nutrients. Harvesting further down in the ocean’s food web could have the potential to solve three global challenges we are currently facing, cardiovascular disease, food security and environmental sustainability.


Member of research group