With A Heart For the Sea

By combining her knowledge of technology and biology, Maria wants to contribute new expertise to the aquaculture industry

Maria Gaasø was raised on Frøya and has always enjoyed life at sea. She has long been concerned with the sea and the environment and remembers well how the older fishermen took care of equipment - nothing was to be thrown and no plastic was going into the sea.

During the summer holidays and in addition to the studies, Maria has worked on both hatchery and fish farms. She has a bachelor's degree in materials technology at HIST, and now she holds a master's degree in marine biology and aquaculture at NTNU.

Contact

When choosing a theme for the master's thesis, she contacted the research project Taskforce Salmon Lice at NTNU and asked if they had a thesis for her. They said yes, and now she is working with them and several companies in the aquaculture industry to combat the salmon lice.

When she was working on her bachelor thesis, she also worked with a company, and the recipe was the same:

- I sent a message to a company on LinkedIn and heard if they were interested in working with me. Collaboration is not that difficult. Just get contacts, listen a little and contact people yourself, advises Maria.

Get to know the lice

In her master thesis, she is now part of a larger research team that wants to become better acquainted with salmon lice to learn how to fight it. They go out on a wellboat, fill it with fresh water and salmon, and then they look at how the salmon louse responds to this type of freshwater treatment.

- Lice has previously become resistant to chemical treatment, so now we have to start over. We look at how long the lice can withstand fresh water before it has to release, says Maria.

For Maria, it is exciting to work with something that can solve the actual problem that companies have. The research project she is now part of was started on the basis that the industry saw that this was a topic that should be researched.

- Researching what's new is fun. In addition, I get some kind of work experience, a small foot inside a company - which makes it easier to contact them again later.

Combines interests and knowledge

In addition to making contacts in the industry, Maria also gets to work on what she thinks is most exciting.

- By working in aquaculture, I get to participate in the development of the future food dishes. Compared to agriculture, aquaculture is just in its early stages, so it is very interesting to be aware of what is happening in the future.

Maria envisions that the combination of technological and biological knowledge can be useful in the future. Those who work only on technological development do not necessarily see the important biological aspects.

- Sustainability is one of the things I care about a lot, so being able to work in the aquaculture industry with the development of standards, certifications and protection will be very exciting.

This article was originally published in Norwegian at trondelagfylke.no