THE Norwegian salmon farming giant SalMar is to press ahead with its ambitious open sea development project despite a partial rejection of its application for 16 licences.
The Fisheries Directorate tuned down around half of the licence applications by SalMar and its subsidiary, the advanced marine technology company Mariculture, just before the festive break.
Now the two businesses have issued a joint statement saying they will proceed with the scheme, known as Smart Fish Farm, using the remaining eight licence permits.
SalMar founder Gustav Witzøe described their strategy as ‘important for Norway and the Norwegian aquaculture industry’ at a time of scarcity of sustainable sites in coastal areas, and strong worldwide competition from land based farming.
He said: ‘This will be the world’s first plant designed for farming out in the open sea. Investment costs are currently estimated at approximately NOK 1.5 billion.
‘The specially designed deep water project – called the Smart Fish Farm – could be established in heavily weathered areas about 20 to 30 nautical miles off the Norwegian coastline.
‘The new deep water sphere will be developed in close cooperation with world leading Norwegian expertise communities.
‘SalMar has already acquired valuable experience in offshore aquaculture technology through its seamless Ocean Farm development.
‘The experience from this earlier development has been very good. The fish thrive, they grow better, they do not require lice treatment and have lower mortality.
‘This has greatly contributed to SalMar’s decision to take the next major step and become the world’s first company that uses the ocean for fish farming.’
SalMar said that Smart Fish Farm is an advanced production unit, designed to take twice as much fish as the Ocean Farm platform.
It has the capacity to produce three million salmon distributed in its eight production rooms. The platform will be about 70m high, and with a diameter of 160m.
It will be equipped with a closed, load-bearing centre column, which will also double as the plant’s control unit and research laboratory.
Picture: SalMar founder Gustav Witzøe