Atlantic salmon cultured in commercial farms are at risk of contracting and transferring infectious bacterial diseases and other pathogens. Aerobic training aims to mitigate susceptibility of salmon to infectious diseases by enhancing fitness levels.
In 2011, a randomised, replicated, controlled study in Norway (Castro et al., 2011) found increased survival rates in salmon, Salmo salar, exposed to infectious pancreatic necrosis virus due to endurance training. Fish that had undergone aerobic interval training showed higher survival rates (74%) compared with those that had undergone aerobic continuous intensity training or the non-trained control group (64% and 61% survival, respectively). Mortalities began to occur 11 days after exposure and continued until the end of the 31 day experiment. 120 fish were split into the three treatment groups; control untrained fish swimming in tanks with a constant average water speed of 0.05 body lengths/second, continuous intensity training salmon exposed to a constant average water speed of 0.8 body lengths/second and interval trained fish exposed to an average speed of 0.8 body lengths/second for 16 hours per day (including 4 h light–12 h dark). After training, fish were maintained for 6 weeks at a constant average water speed of 0.05 body lengths/second before cohabitation with 60 salmon infected with infectious pancreatic necrosis. Mortality levels were recorded daily for 31 days.