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Norwegian startup plans country's first land-based shrimp farm

Happy Prawns is currently searching for the right location for its first facility -- and is scouting for investors at the same time.

Stavanger-based Happy Prawns is setting out to become a pioneer in Norway. In a country-wide first, it aims to build up a commercial shrimp farm -- and it is looking for people willing to invest.

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"We are planning to launch Norway's first commercial land-based tropical farm for breeding shrimp," General Manager Magnar Hansen told IntraFish sister publication Tekfisk.

Initially, the company will focus on growing vannamei but eventually it aims to expand the production to monodon shrimp, which are somewhat larger than vannamei.

Happy Prawns is currently looking at three different sites for the farm, one in Sauda, one in Tonstand and one in the Hå municipality.

"Finding the right locaton is very important," Hansen said. "It requires a lot of power to maintain constant water temperatures of around 28 degrees Celsius. Therefore, we want to use waste heat to reduce costs."

In addition, it is also searching for investors. Hansen said interest is coming from different sectors, not only from investors within the aquaculture industry.

c860796d455db2a5994ccd445f478446 Magnar Hansen, founder and general manager of Happy Prawns. Photo: Happy Prawns

Hansen has been running a pilot facility in Hillevåg for 1.5 years, testing different production sustems, feeds and equipment.

Just like in the pilot facility, which had a total tank capacity of 900 liters, Happy Prawns will also opt for biofloc technology at the new farm.

"It's brand-new in Norway, but big abroad," Hansen said.

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The new facility will span 1,200 square meters and include a hatchery as well as grow-out tanks. The initial production target is 10 metric tons annually, with a market size of 35 grams and bigger.

Happy Prawns plans a tank with the capacity of 630,000 liters, divided by two walls, resulting in three different production units with biofloc, Hansen said.

No medication or chemicals will be used and the shrimp will grow to market-size within three to four months.

"That means we can run three cycles over one year," Hansen said.

The company aims to target the Norwegian market with its shrimp. "Ten tons are not that much," Hansen said. "There's a market for shrimp in Norway and initially we will sell our shrimp via wholesalers to processors."

Happy Prawns' aims to start production as early as 2019. And its strategy also comprises plans for three additional facilities, which combined could produce 50 metric tons annually.

"It's a very ambitious goal," Hansen said.

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