TWO Norwegian entrepreneurs are planning the world’s largest land based salmon farming operation, with an eventual aim to produce up to 20,000 tonnes of fish a year.
The men behind the three billion kroner plan in the port of Floro, in the western part of the country, are Kjell Audun Aasen and Martin Ramsdal from a company called Nekst.
They received approval last year for 16 development licences that combine land and sea based aquaculture, according to the Norwegian technical journal Teknisk Ukeblad (TU).
Kjell Aasen said their plan was highly sustainable and would be based on the use of recirculated water designed to reduce the risk of lice and help prevent escapes.
He told TU: ‘We will use technology that already exists, and we believe that the re-use of water is an important environmental factor because it provides a completely different option on quality.’
Aasen has been connected with aquaculture since 1984 when he was involved in the farming of Pacific salmon in Canada. This, he admits, was not a success and gave way to Atlantic salmon which was better suited to farming. He later went on to work for Marine Harvest.
Nekst says it can produce large smolts – or post-smolts – of about 2.7 kg, which typically take about 90 weeks from the hatching of the eggs, before transferring the fish to sea cages.
The local council in Floro, once an important herring port, is asking Nekst to build its plant near the town’s municipal industrial area, which it believes can accommodate such a large land based fish farm. It is also close to the harbour and a good supply of water and power.
Aasen told the journal: ‘If everything goes as we hope, we expect to be able to start production in the second half of 2019.
‘We believe that our plan to re-use water is an important environmental factor.’