MARINE Harvest Group’s ‘egg’ concept has been approved by the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries, the company announced this week.
The new enclosed technology qualifies in general for the development licences scheme and the directorate may award four development licences for the project.
The technology, created by Hauge Aqua, is based on a 44m high and 33m wide structure, 90 per cent of which will be submerged. It will be able to accommodate 1,000 tonnes of salmon.
Hauge Aqua claims its system will help combat the problem of sea lice and dramatically reduce infection. It will also reduce the chance of escapes, enable more accurate feeding, reduce nutrient discharges and thus increase production per site.
The portion of the ‘egg’ that is above water is filled with air. The structure will replace conventional circular net pens but will be supported by existing infrastructure, such as feed barges, said Hauge Aqua.
Water is pumped through two main pumps at the bottom of the egg, so the ‘eggs’ are not dependent on high currents, potentially opening up new sites for farming.
Alf-Helge Aarskog, CEO of Marine Harvest, said when applying for the licences: ‘The egg represents a new direction, and is a leap in the development of closed systems. Our goal is to produce healthy and tasty salmon on a more sustainable and cost effective manner.
‘To justify the investment costs, as well as to verify the technology’s competitiveness and performance, large-scale tests are vital.
‘It is therefore very important that our application is granted in its entirety. If we succeed, it will be a quantum leap for the entire industry,’
Marine Harvest applied for 14 development licences in relation to the concept in February. It has applied for 34 development licences in total, for four different concepts, including the egg.
The company said it will continue to work with the authorities, and hopes it will reach a final conclusion soon, in order for the egg project to commence.