Land-based salmon farming: Is it the next big thing or a pipe dream?
That is the question explored in the new IntraFish Business Intelligence report: “Land-Based Salmon Farming: A Guide for Investors and Industry".
Much has happened in the recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) technology space since IntraFish published it first comprehensive report on the sector more than a year ago.
Back then, analysts were projecting that 20 developing land-based operations carried a capacity to produce roughly $150,000 metric tons of salmon.
For this report, IntraFish identified 41 land-based projects, which combined, would produce roughly 789,786 metric tons of Atlantic salmon if all of them become fully operational and produced their maximum projected output.
The more than fivefold increase in potential biomass, while extremely optimistic, suggests the enthusiasm and investment flowing into the sector.
The debate about the economic viability of land- based salmon farming has been one of the most hotly contested topics in aquaculture in recent years. In the past, some of the largest netpen salmon farming companies in the world argued land-based farming would never work, saying operational costs are simply too high, there’s already not enough land to farm traditional crops, and the benefits don’t outweigh the negatives.
But high demand and prices, along with flattening global production, biological challenges and increasing production costs, along with the massive development of the RAS technology employed at these facilities, has shifted that perception somewhat.
RAS technology employed for salmon smolt production is already exploding. Big salmon farmers are investing millions and are seeing success, using the technology to complement their well-established net-pen operations around the world. The use of RAS to raise smolts helps alleviate some of the most pressing problems facing net-pen farmers. By growing the smolts larger before transferring them to sea cages, costs of production can be lowered by reducing treatments for lice and disease.
However, raising salmon through the fish’s entire life cycle to market size in commercially significant volumes still has a long way to go.
Will land- based farms fill the gap? They’ll most certainly make an impact in markets such as the United States and China. But there are still plenty of challenges and the next five years will be a steep learning curve for everyone involved.
This report includes:
- A focus on the history of land-based salmon farming
- Detailed overview of how RAS technology works
- A cost comparison between land-based production and traditional netpen production
- A listing and profiles of the largest RAS technology suppliers
- A listing and profiles of the world’s land-based salmon producers
- An examination of the investment rationale for and against land-based farming
- A 21-article collection of the most recent and relevant IntraFish stories related to RAS