THE Norwegian fish farmer SalMar is planning to build another huge offshore platform possibly twice the size of Ocean Farm 1, which was brought in from China last summer.
The move follows SalMar’s acquisition of 51 per cent of the shares in the Stavanger based company MariCulture, which is involved in the development of fish farms and fish farming equipment.
The two businesses have signed a partnership to develop a new offshore aquaculture concept called Smart Fish Farm that can operate in the open sea.
MariCulture has applied for 16 development licences which, it is hoped, will permit the project to go ahead.
They say the concept is quite different from anything so far conceived in that this huge new platform should be able to withstand wave heights of up to 15 metres.
Norway’s Directorate of Fisheries will first have to approve the development licences and both SalMar and MariCulture say they are hoping for an early decision.
The entire project is likely to cost at least 1.5 billion kroners (£135.5 million).
SalMar said model testing will be carried out at the Sintef Ocean Laboratory in Norway, which is the largest research organisation in Scandinavia.
Gustav Witzøe, the 25-year-old billionaire and controlling owner in SalMar, said: ‘We aim to make the deep water sphere a global research laboratory for the open sea, in cooperation with NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) and other leading research communities.’
The plan is to establish the platform in the Norwegian Sea off the Trøndelag coast.
Witzøe added: ‘If we succeed, Norwegian waters will be able to retain and strengthen their position as the world’s leading producer of Atlantic salmon over a long-term perspective.
‘The Norwegian coast is the biological ‘home port’ of the Atlantic salmon, while land based farming can be established across much of the world.
‘A technology that makes it possible to establish salmon farming in the open sea, in its natural habitat outside the Norwegian coast, could be a decisive breakthrough to ensure the government’s ambition to make Norway the world’s leading seafood nation.’
Picture: Artist’s impression of the planned new SalMar platform