Salmon Evolution begins phase one of construction of land-based salmon farm

Work started last week on the NOK 1.3 billion (USD 130 million, EUR 118 million) first phase of Salmon Evolution’s fish farm in an abandoned quarry at Indre Harøy on the west coast of Norway.

When all three phases of the project are complete, it is expected to be one of Europe’s largest fish farms, producing 36,000 metric tons (MT) per year.

The first phase tanks being installed will have the capacity to produce 9,000 MT of salmon per year, and the aim is to transfer the first smolts into the tanks in Q4 2021, and to start the harvest a year later.

Acting CEO Håkon Berg said the project will stake out a new path for fish farming on land in the future.

“Starting construction is an important milestone for us, and a clear signal that land-based aquaculture will be an important supplement to conventional fish farms,” he said.

Founders Ingjarl Skarvøy, Per Olav Mevold, Kristofer Reiten, and Jonny Småge had long wanted to create an onshore farm in their region of Norway. The farm will provide local jobs and an important source of food to the area, and even more benefits are potentially in store, according to Reiten.

“Technology development and new business opportunities will emerge, and the region will be put on the national and international map. It’s a great joy to see the machinery on site, but we won’t celebrate until the fish are in the tanks,” Reiten said.

The project will use a throughflow system, taking seawater from depths of 95 meters and 25 meters, depending on which needs the least heating at any one time. Sixty-five percent of the water will be reused, to ensure the best possible water quality for the fish.

Production tanks will be divided into discrete biological zones to reduce operational and biological risk, and wastewater treatment and sludge recycling will minimize the environmental footprint. Waste and feed residues from production will be collected and used as raw material for producing biogas, fertilizer, and cultivating seaweed or salad crops, thereby ensuring that the whole project contributes to a circular economy, Salmon Evolution said.

Salmon Evolution raised NOK 258 million (USD 26 million, EUR 23.7 million) in March, including NOK 107 million (USD 10.8 million, EUR 9.8 million) from existing shareholders. Ronja Capital is the largest of the new investors and is also the largest shareholder in the company, with 1.6 percent of the shares, closely followed by Romsdalsfisk with 18.8 percent.

Ronja Capital Investment Vice President Tore A. Tønseth was recently appointed as the new chair of Salmon Evolution at a board meeting on 31 March.

“Because conventional aquaculture faces biological restrictions, land-based fish farming will play a key role in the future. Salmon Evolution has a unique approach to such production, and we believe it has a clearly lower risk profile than many other projects,” he said.


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