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New land-based salmon farm planned for Norway

Company is planning two RAS facilities initially producing around 2,400 metric tons of salmon.

Newly-formed Norwegian company Salmo Terra is applying for licenses to build a land-based salmon farm in Oygarden, just outside Bergen, with a total production capacity of 2,400 metric tons.

Harald Schreiner Fiksdal and his colleagues in Salmo Terra are planning to initially build two RAS 2020 systems.

Each unit will be around 2,600 square meters, contain 5,000 cubic meters of water and produce 1,200 metric tons of salmon per year.

The smolt planned for the systems will be sized around 100-200 grams.

“This is a project I and a business partner have been working for quite a while,” Fiksdal told IntraFish.

Fiksdal has extensive experience in the oil and gas industry, working as innovation director at oil service company Enhanced Drilling until February 2017. However, he has no experience so far in salmon.

“I have run various technology companies in the oil industry for around 30 years and I have operational and management experience both at home and abroad,” he said.

While he has no experience of salmon, his forte lies in project management, and he will use this as well as look after the financial aspects of the company.

“Eventually we will employ professionals as biologists and smokers,” he said.

Fiksdal added Salmo Terra is currently in talks with potential suppliers of goods and services, such as smolt producers and slaughter houses.

He estimates that the development costs for the plant will amount to a total of around NOK 200 million (€21.3 million/$25.3 million), but this is “very grossly estimated."

The company is also in talks with several parties for financing the project, “both banks, investors and Danish export credits."

The entrepreneur did not reveal how much money he has invested in the project so far.

If everything goes as planned, he expects construction start in the first half of 2018, and the first harvest at the end of 2019.

For the past few years, Norwegian authorities have been open to the idea of land-based salmon production, and there have been a number of initiatives for building facilities - although perhaps not as many as expected with the high salmon prices.

No facilities have yet been completed, and Nordic Aquafarm's facility in Fredrikstad will probably be the first to come into operation.

Outside Norway, where costs are lower and there are more consumers, there are a number of land-based salmon players, both with plans, facilities under construction and finished facilities.

Atlantic Sapphire has been operating a small plant in Denmark for several years now, and is now building the first phase of a new plant with 8,500 metric-tons capacity in Miami, which, when fully completed, will have a capacity reaching 90,000 metric tons.

The reason for constructing a land-based salmon farm near Miami -- for example -- is that it is close to the market, saving time and money on shipping, which is not the case in Norway.

However Fiksdal disagrees and argues Norway is also an important market.

“In addition, we believe that production here is important for both quality and brand,” he said.

“Norway must participate in this journey and not stand on the platform when the train is driving away. Furthermore, there is a lot of expertise in salmon and RAS in Norway and Denmark, which we consider important to have in the vicinity. We also have good infrastructure here.”

While he was unable to say what production costs they are expecting, he believes margins will be good, even if salmon prices are well below today's level.

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