Boosting salmon production with the environment in mind
By Eric Ignatz
With increasing government regulation and high costs of licensing, Norwegians are exploring new ways to farm Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). Offshore and land-based operations are two options producers are actively invested in.
By Eric Ignatz
The Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs is granting development permits to projects that aim at addressing environmental concerns of salmon aquaculture. Of 104 applicants chosen for further investigation, three have been granted to off-shore installations. The first was to Ocean Farm 1, a 110-meter diameter system designed to grow up to 1.5 million salmon per year and withstand the harsh conditions in the Norwegian Sea.
Havfarm is a separate design, measuring 431 by 54 meters, and once complete will surpass Ocean Farm 1 in its capability to house approximately two million salmon. The third license holder, Arctic Offshore Farming, plans to use a submersible cage design to mitigate the risk of sea lice exposure.
In contrast to sea cage licenses, land-based production licenses are free as an incentive for producers. There are currently seven companies with licenses: Salmon Evolution, Tomren Fish, Havlandet Havbruk, Bulandet Miljøfisk, Salmo Terra, Salmo Farms and Fredrikstad Seafood. Operations are spread across Norway, with production targets ranging from 200 to 30,000 metric tons. None of these facilities are operational yet, as many companies are still working on securing capital investment. Fredrikstad Seafood will likely be the first as it is scheduled to start stocking its farm this winter.
Both offshore and land-based farming currently offer potential as niche production systems in Norway. Knut Hjelt of the Norwegian Seafood Federation projects that in five years, land-based operations will constitute one to three percent of today’s capacity and offshore farming will make up two to three percent of the production volume.