Norway April 2019

SDC Students in Norway for SUSSWATER

Nine A-level, Applied Science and Animal Management students recently visited Norway as part of an Erasmus+ funded project to learn more about the sustainable use of water. This project is run by SUSSWATER and involves partner colleges and organisation in three other countries; Bromangymnasiet College in Hudiksvall, Sweden, Val Skole in Norway and the Irish Sea Fisheries Board; This is the last of the four ‘mobilities’ with visits to the other three places having already taken place over the course of the last 2 academic years. The purpose of these visits is for students to gain a greater understanding of the sustainable use of water in both their home regions and other European counties. As well as this the project exists to promote a range of other skills such as language, communication, presentation and team-working as well as promote and develop links between individuals from different cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds and hopefully to forge lasting friendships between students (and staff) all over Europe.

This is the last of the four mobilities each partner has also brought students to Sweden to work alongside each other and exchange ideas for a week.

On the recent visit students were accompanied by South Devon College lecturers Matt Rossin and Luke Peakman and were involved in arrange of tours, talks and activities designed to strengthen their understanding of the use of water as a resource in the region, with an emphasis on salmon farming and aquaculture.

Upon arrival at Val Skole after a 5 hour drive from Trondheim Airport the students were met by blizzard conditions, much to their delight. However, the following day, the snow had mostly melted and the students attended a lecture by some of the Norwegion students about a recent fish population study they had completed. They were then involved in a practical laboratory session involving fish dissection and the measurement of a range of fish population parameters that form a large part of fish population biology and ecology in the region.

On day two the group visited the remote islands of Sør-Gjæslingan which were previously home to 5000 cod fishing boats in the early 1900s. The trip to these islands involved an exciting 40 minute RIB boat ride through some quite bumpy seas conditions! The students were given a tour themed around the coastal culture and history of the islands and their importance in the fishing industry through the ages. In the evening, There was also a tour of the schools facilities form the enthusiastic Norwegian students, which we quite impressive- a large working farm, aquaculture centre, salmon farm and equine centre.

Day three included another boat trip. This time it was a more sedate ride to a working salmon farm in one of the many fjords in the region. This nicely linked the historical tour of the previous day with the modern equivalent and gave the opportunity for the students to ask a lot of questions about how the salmon farms can be run in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. This day also included a tour of the salmon hatchery which rears the salmon and provides the adults for the sea farms. The students were also able to take part in a practical activity analysing the quality of the water in the fjords and identifying the phytoplankton and zooplankton on which the whole aquatic ecosystem relies.

Prior to the trip, our students had prepared a number of posters about the use of water in our own region, from conservation and coastal management to tourism. Day four allowed them to present their work at the SUSSWATER conference at the Rørvik museum. This event was attended by local dignitaries, industry representatives school children and the local Mayor. The students impressed with their detailed knowledge of our local water resource use and management and with their eye-catching posters. There were also several fascinating and engaging talks from local industry delegates ranging from the designing of electric boats and the effects of climate change in fishing to the recycling of plastic waste and coastal management in the region. The day finished with a fishing trip from a disused salmon farm. For some students this was their first time sea fishing and they were very successful, catching a range of cod, haddock and whiting.

The final day started with all students involved in a beach clean. After an hour of work they had filled a large number of sacks full of waste, mainly plastic – a great effort! In the afternoon a number of students went on a hike from the school up a 100m high mountain and gave them the opportunity to take some photos of the spectacular scenery with panoramic views of beaches, snow topped mountains and numerous fjords.

As well as academic and vocational aspects there was [plenty of time for some fun and the students were keen to get involved in all the activities on offer, from playing football, table tennis and pool, to horse-riding and even clay pigeon shooting! The final icing on the cake was an unexpected viewing of the northern lights on the final evening which really topped off a great week and one both staff and students will never forget.

Final LTT-week at Val

April 1-5, the final LTT-activity in SUSSWATER was conducted at Val in Norway. This was the fourth week where students and teachers from Ireland, UK, Sweden and Norway were gathered to learn more about sustainable use of water-based resources.

In addition to the students from Val vgs, a total of 21 students and teachers from the other partners participated. An intensive program for the week was prepared, with both practical exercises, teaching, experiences in the maritime environment and of course a good dose of cultural and social activities and experiences.

After quite long journeys by plane and bus, the participants arrived during the Sunday evening. The students were housed at Val vgs, while the teachers lived at Kolvereid camping a short distance from school. Monday morning started with the “traditional” get-to-know-each other, where each school presented themselves.

After lunch we worked at the laboratory with an assessment of trout that was caught in a lake.

On Tuesday we go the island of Sør-Gjeslingan, a former fishing community outside Rørvik. The trip out to the island was with RIB, and became a quite tough experience at high speed on rough water. At Sør-Gjeslingan we have a guided tour, and learned how it was to fish for cod from open small boats so far out from shoreland. It was something completely different from what we are used to today, and it was interesting to see and hear how fishing took place 100 years ago. Although the weather did not show up on its best, everyone was well dressed and kept warm. When we return to Rørvik, we visit a fish landing facility. They process almost all their landed fish, and offer products ranging from salted cod to fish cakes.

The following day, the focus was on the aquaculture industry in Norway. In the area of Val there is a lot of farming of salmon, and we visit commercial fish farms both on shore and in the sea. We saw how the salmon was produced in tanks on shore until it was about 100 grams. Then it is put in cages in the sea and grows there until it is about 5 kg which is the slaughter weight. The students were divided into three groups, which rotated throughout the day. In addition to visits to fish farms, there were also measurements of water quality and collection of plankton to look at the composition of zooplankton in the sea.

Thursday was seminar-day. The seminar was arranged in Rørvik, and in total there were 90 participants. In addition to the participants from Susswater, there were also students and teachers from other schools there, as well as representatives from the business community, local government and some people from the public. The day started with a poster session, where the students presented posters that they had made about water-based topics. At the seminar there were talks from both the governmental and the business sector about the protection and use of water-based resources. There was also time for a good lunch, of course fish soup!

The last day there was practical work with beach cleaning. Plastic has become a major problem around the world, and the area of Val is no exception. Eager students cleared several hundred meters of beach zone during some effective working hours. Always good to be able to translate the theory into practice!

In addition to the professional focus during the week we also find time to social activities, quite easy to perform as all the students stayed at Val. Lot of fun for both students and teachers!

When the visitors were to sum up the week, it was generally agreed that there are too many bread meals in Norway, aquaculture is very exciting, Val is a great school and Susswater has been an educational project!

Susswater Norway and BIM April 2019 – Ronan Browne

Recently staff from BIM (Bord Iascaigh Mhara) Ireland’s seafood development agency attended the Susswater transnational project in cooperation with NYN at VAL in Norway (Sunday 31st March to Sunday 7th April 2019). Val is an Upper Secondary school, situated on the rural part of Mid-Norway and it offers vocational training in aquaculture, agriculture and equine studies. During the visit, Louise Collins and Ronan Browne had the pleasure of being brought to commercial Aquaculture units and Fishery processing operations in the company of lecturers and students involved in this Erasmus programme. David Millard is the lead organiser for BIM and the project is focused on the sustainable use of water, involving schools from around Europe (Norway, Sweden, UK and Ireland).

As part of the activities for the week BIM staff were shown with the other participants current and cutting-edge aquaculture technologies in action and given practical teaching demonstrations of ecological and aquatic monitoring methodologies in the classroom and outdoors. The guided site visits during the week included trips to a commercial salmon hatchery and sea cages, an excursion to a remote village on an island where cod fishing took place and an in depth look at a fish processing plant in Rorvik.

Specific highlights of the site visits included witnessing the large scale of the aquaculture operations in Norway, the striving for improvements in production and environmental practices. Their integration of these activities with coastal communities. On the practical side of the activities we saw lump fish and high-tech lasers being used in the fight against sea lice. The selection of salmon that have specific characteristics that suit the sites they are being grown at. It was fascinating to observe the level of knowledge that the Norwegian students were familiar with and able to impart to their Swedish, British and Irish guests.

On Thursday 7th April, the BIM representatives attended a Seminar on the” Use and Management of Marine Resources”. At which Ronan presented on the work and objectives of the BlueFish project (An Ireland Wales Interreg programme) which is looking at the potential impacts of climate change on fish and shellfish. Other speakers at the event covered the topics of Susswater, the sustainable use of marine resources, coastal management, marine plastic waste, green fisheries/aquaculture, tourism and climate change. The conference was well attended by local politicians and other participants from the project. In addition to the spoken presentations students had prepared posters on related matters and were on hand to discuss them.

It is thought that projects such as Susswater can help to develop the Irish Seafood Industry by improving the technical expertise of participants in the marine and freshwater industries through training and promoting responsible environmental practice. BIM would like to acknowledge and thank the lecturers from VAL (Halvor Mortensen & Håkon Valen) who organised and delivered a very informative and enjoyable week for all.



Ireland October 2018

Tova, emma, amber, leah

At the beginning of the project, the students got split into groups, each containing someone from Sweden, Norway and England.

What we have learnt in Ireland

The farming of seafood.

The seaweed industry




Ability to be sustained, supported, upheld, or confirmed.
The quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance

We are so grateful for this trip, for the people we have met and especially for the amazing knowledge we have gained.
We have learnt how to work well together.

Here is a report from the Norwegian Students

On Monday we started the day to getting to know the other students from England and Sweden. We had some games and talked to each other. We also had a presentation of our school. At lunch time, we had a historical walk to a castle near the town, the Dunboy castle. We had a guide who told us about the castle and the place around. Before we ended the day, we watched a presentation about BlueFishproject. That was a project they have in Castletownbere and some other places in Ireland and Wales. They also told us that we were going to do the rest of the week and showed us some equipment we were going to use.

What we learned: We learned about some history about the castle and the town, and the area around. We learned about the BlueFish project and what they do, and why.

The next day we started the day with visiting an old abalone farm, who they now have many liters with water that day examine, and they are trying to find out who they can get money out of this. After lunch, we watched a little more detailed presentation after yesterdays short presentation. After the presentation, we were divided into groups, and went out to do some tests of seaweed on different places. We collected different types of seaweed that we are going to look at the next day. We also looked at animals who lives in this area, animals like crabs and seaweed lice.

What we learned: We learned about how abalone is difficult to produce and have a marked for, because it takes many years to produce abalones, and then it is long way to get to the marked, it isn’t profitable. We also learned about who they use the water repeatedly and who they exploit the water in other ways. We learned about who they collect seaweed examples and why they do it in this way. We also learned more about the different types of seaweed.

On Wednesday the studends did four different things. Someone started inside, with the seaweed they collected the day before. They took the weight of the different types, and from the different transects. They made some graphs, so they could see who the seaweed developed. On the next activity, they looked at who a ROV works and what they are using it to. We also took some examples from the water. At the 3rd activity, they looked at the water examples they took. They looked after different plankton types, and they draw them. At the last activity, they went out at the sea, and examined the transparency, and some other stuff.

What we learned: We learned about how they are doing the different examples of the water, seaweed, and the organisms in the water, and why they are doing it. We also learned who the who they are using the ROV.

On Thursday the students started the day with watching some presentations about H2O in the water, and how it is affecting the water in different ways. They also watched a presentation about mussels. After the presentations, they worked in the groups and exanimated mussels. They measured the length, width, and depth. They also looked at the weight before and after they cooked them. They also looked at the weight at the meat and at just the shell.

What we learnd: We learned more about who the C2O affects the water when it comes to the pH and other important parts in the water. We also learned about mussels, and why they are dangerous to eat some part of the year. We also learned what they are looking for when they sell mussels.

On Friday, our last day in Castletownbere, the four different groups worked with a presentation about what they have learned during the week and told all the other about that in the end of the day. After that we packed up our cars and startet on our way back home to Norway. We are very happy and thankful for the job BIM have done during our week in Castletownbere and the studens have learned a lot.



UK April 2018

Susswater – Norway and Sweden visit Paignton April 2018

South Devon College hosted the 2nd week of project activities from 16th April to 20th April 2018.

We welcomed learners from Norway and Sweden, plus teachers who undertook a week of structured activities looking at Water Quality issues in Torbay.

The week commenced with poster presentations from the visiting students which helped to introduce the learners to each other and gain an understanding of the water systems and issues in their local area. This was followed by a visit to the Marine Laboratories in Plymouth where students learned about the activities currently underway at this Centre for Marine research.

The second day comprised of practical activities including pond sampling and investigation followed by a beach clean that most of the students enjoyed however the weather was not good, cold and raining which somewhat dampened the spirits!

An early start on Wednesday for a tour of Brixham Fish Market to see a large market in operation, followed in the afternoon by a visit to the Living Coasts Centre in Torquay, a visitor Centre for coastal wildlife.

On Thursday morning students undertook work on their posters followed in the afternoon to a visit to Hay Tor on Dartmoor and a traditional Devon Cream Tea.

The week concluded with a sailing trip at the Dart Marina prior followed by a debrief and review of the week, then departure and farewells in the afternoon.

Alongside these educational activities, there were a range of social events and cultural activities which really added to the learners overall experience.

All students completed Evaluation Sheets with feedback being mainly positive, with knowledge being gained particularly re the issue of micro-plastics in water and the variety of activities. Some commented on how they would have liked more time to integrate with students from other counties. This will be addressed in the next visit to Ireland where it is planned to mix the countries groups when undertaking activities

It was excellent to have a second multi-cultural trip with learners from different backgrounds working together to solve problems and generate ideas for the future relating to sustainability and the continuation from the first week was a real benefit to the organisations.

Norway goes to Sweden

Happy Norwegians in Sweden!

Six students and two teachers from Val Upper Secondary School spent an interesting and educational week in Sweden in April, as part of the SUSSWATER-project. Here are some of their thoughts and feedback.

What did we learn?

Axel and Kristine

During the week we exchanged knowledge and experience with the other participating students. This was done by lectures, poster session (very interesting!), practical and theoretical work in mixed groups. I have gained new knowledge about GMO, water power stations, how rubbish affects nature and of course I learned more about Hudiksvall, the place where we stay during the week. It was also very interesting to hear and see more about the role of different predators in nature, which was very well described during our trip to JärvZoo.

In a more unformal way we learned more about other cultures, as we stay together with students and teachers from Ireland and UK. Football match, barbecuing, swimming in very cold water and just staying together made us connected in a very nice way.

How was your experience and how do you handle any challenges during the week?

Adele, Magnus and Sigbjørn

I really like staying together with whole group at Camp Igge. There was no problems with the language, and it was easy to ask for assistance if needed.

I really enjoy the social part. It was so much fun to meet new people from different cultures and countries. I expand my social limits, and I felt we interact really well with the other students.

My experience was all GOOD!

Have the stay in Sweden changes your overall view on the use of water based resources and how this can be manage in a sustainable way?

Adele, Mariann, Axel and Sigbjørn

Yes, I realized how important it is and that it will take a lot of hard work. I am now more aware about what we must do and also how things must be done.

I felt I got challenged when it comes to the use of GMO. GMO will might be a way to go to solve some of the future problems.

It is important to remember that all use of resources will have a downside, also when it comes to the use of water based resources.

Articles from the press

Ireland goes to Sweden

Ryan Nolan – Erasmus+ Exchange

  • My Expectations

I was expecting to learn more about Aquaculture from other people and the way they use it. I also wanted to tell people of how we use here in Ireland. I was also looking forward to spending the week in another country and experience its culture and their way of life.

  • While I was there

When we arrived there I did notice a few different things like the way when they cycle more as a way of getting around. And they’re houses were built different a lot of them with a wooden structure of feature included in nearly every single one I saw. I also noticed they have a lot of inland lakes which from the sky was amazing to see as well as on the ground. When we meet with the other people who would be with us for the exchange, who were from Norway, England and Sweden, they were all pleasant and welcoming people. While we at the school where we spent most of our time I was amazed to how well equipped they were from brand new books to laptops for nearly every student they were a well-organized and welcoming school. During the day they would stop and have something they call “Fika” which is coffee and a pastry which was really nice. In the afternoons we would have time to ourselves to do what we wanted to do. When it came to the last day we all said good bye to each other as I really enjoyed my stay and would recommend people be part of the Erasmus+ exchange as you would discover and meet interesting people as well as make friends and remember an experience that will remain with you for the rest of your life.

  • Overall experience

I really enjoyed myself while I did this exchange and would do it again if I was offered as I learned a lot about other people and made me more interested in Aquaculture. I really enjoyed the side activities they planned as well, they were really enjoyable and fun. I really enjoyed spending time with the others from the other countries they were fun and interesting. Over all it was an amazing experience and will never forget it.

Lucie Hesse

I really enjoyed the great group dynamic. Which was always working very well, at workshops, soccer match or picking up litter in the woods.

Being together with Swedish and Norwegian students, it was nice to  learn a bit about the Swedish/Scandinavian culture and their language.
As well it was a good experience presenting our work after every workshop, and getting more confident while doing the presentations.

It was a great combination of different people, I really enjoyed being with them.

Article from the Press