Consumer’s perception and acceptance of lumpfish used in salmon cages

Peer Reviewed
6 October 2023

Nguyen Tien Thong, Quach Thi Khanh Ngoc, Gøril Voldnes

Lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus) are used as cleaner fish in salmon aquaculture to treat sea lice. However, after 18–24 months and reaching 0.4–0.6 kg, the fish is removed from the salmon cage and usually discarded, which raises social, economic, and environmental challenges, as well as ethical concerns. This paper assesses the viability of marketing lumpfish as food by exploring possible products that can be made from the fish in Vietnamese cuisine, and understanding the stakeholder’s perception and acceptance of the fish. We used a customer co-creation method to investigate market potential, sending a sample of 45 kg of frozen and whole lumpfish from Norway to Vietnam. Researchers, industrial stakeholders, restaurant chefs, and household consumers collaborated to discuss, process, cook, and taste the fish, and the evaluations were assessed before and after consumption. More than 10 Vietnamese dishes were identified as possible use for lumpfish, including grilled, fried, sour soup, hotpot, and several value-added products. Household consumers and restaurant buyers evaluated the fish positively in terms of sensory quality (taste, color, flavor, size, and texture), but the rough skin and sharp thorn are negative aspects. Individual consumers accept the fish and were willing to buy it if the price is reasonable. In contrast, industrial stakeholders evaluated the lumpfish less favorably, citing its soft and mushy texture, sticky smell, and very low fillet-recovery-ratio (only 15.9% of skinless fillet and 16.7% of kama can be obtained from whole-defrosted lumpfish). They also found that the taste of the fish was not delicious and bitter in some value-added products. In addition, this study found that the information relating to lumpfish as a cleaner fish is not an issue in the Vietnamese context.


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Sustainable Development Goals
Publication reference
Thong, N. T., Ngoc, Q. T. K., & Voldnes, G. (2023). Consumer’s perception and acceptance of lumpfish used in salmon cages. Aquaculture International.
Publication | 25 October 2023