THE Lerøy Seafood Group has been given a provisional green light to build a number of unusual fish farming containment systems known as the Pipe Farm.
The NOK 650 million (£62.7 million) closed seawater project will enable the company to expand its production of salmon and trout purely as a trial by around 7,000 tonnes. But Leroy believes this new type of fish farming has huge untapped potential.
The company says it not only involves significant technological innovation, but it will also strengthen the industry’s environmental and sustainability credentials.
The Pipe Farm project certainly reflects the growing high level of technical innovation that is now part of Norway’s aquaculture sector and it could also provide a welcome boost for the country’s marine construction industry.
The Norwegian Fisheries Directorate gave preliminary approval at the weekend for the concept, first submitted in April 2016.
Leroy originally applied for nine licences but the precise number of permits has not been made known.
It is hoped that the trial will eventually lead to the company being able to carry out this type of fish farming on a commercial scale.
While making it clear that approval was not yet binding, the directorate said: ‘Based on the information available at this time, the Directorate of Fisheries considers that the concept under consideration falls within the scope of development permits.
‘The directorate now requests Lerøy to justify its biomass needs, and that the company documents that the project fulfils the terms of ‘significant investment’.’
Such development permits are only usually awarded to projects involving significant innovation and investment and the Pipe Farm scheme clearly falls into both categories.
So far there has been no official comment from Lerøy.
Picture: How the Pipe Farm might look