Grieg enters joint venture for post-smolt, land-based salmon farming

Published on
January 21, 2021

With a one-third ownership in Årdal Aqua and plans to build a new facility in southern Norway, Grieg Seafood ASA has entered the land-based salmon farming arena.

In a filing with the Oslo Stock Exchange, Grieg said that the newly-formed joint venture Årdal Aqua will produce at least 3,000 metric tons (MT) of post-smolt annually and grow fish all the way to harvest size at a proposed land-based facility in Årdal, Rogaland. 

“We are working hard to improve biology and fish welfare, and to reduce our impact. For a long time, we have invested in post-smolt, where we keep the fish longer on land before we release it into the sea, as an important part of the solution. With Årdal Aqua we will be able to develop this farming method further. We aim for all of our fish in Rogaland to spend less than one year in the sea,” Grieg Seafood CEO and Årdal Aqua Chair Andreas Kvame said.

The project is currently in the design development phase, and the company plans to start construction during the autumn of 2021. The facility will have an initial production capacity of 5,000 MT annually, according to current plans, and the company intends to increase the production capacity further. 

The filing stated that the company will release information about the investment cost when the design development phase is completed. Currently, it estimates an investment cost of NOK 120 (USD 14.19, EUR 11.70) per kilogram.

Under the current plans, Årdal Aqua will create 25 local jobs in Rogaland.

“Through our post-smolt investments we acquire competence on how to produce larger fish on land. Based on this knowledge, Årdal Aqua will also grow fish all the way to harvest size. We will take a step-by-step approach, as we know how complex biology is,” Kvame said.

Kvame said he is convinced that different salmon farming technologies and methods will complement each other in the future. 

“With continuous improvements that reduce the impact from our sea farms, something we work a lot on, farming in the seas will still be the main component of the industry going forward. Land-based farming is, however, a great supplement, and we look forward to taking part in the development of this technology. What we know for sure is that the world will need a lot more healthy and nutritious food with the lowest possible impact,” Kvame said. 

Also holding one-third ownership in Årdal Aqua are smolt and post-smolt company Vest Havbruk, and the Stavanger, Norway-based investor group Omfar. 

Photo courtesy of Årdal Aqua/Grieg

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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