Leroy Seafood CEO Henning Beltestad has "great faith" in the company's NOK 1 billion (€97 million/$118 million) investment in additional recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facilities, which may lead to the production of harvest size land-based salmon in the future.
"We are pleased with this investment,"Beltestad told IntraFish. "You do not know what will happen in five years, we'll see how quickly things change but we will learn along the way."
The investment mostly supports the company's existing larger smolt strategy to improve production of market-size salmon in traditional ocean netpens.
The plan is to develop the facility, in Vestland, Norway, in three stages. The first and second stages will increase the group's own post-smolt production, while the third stage could potentially lead to the production of market-size salmon raised in a land-based farm.
"It is clear that we believe that the combination of post-smolt and what we do at sea is the future, that's why we have invested a lot and want to take it even a little further," Beltestad said. "This is not primarily for us to produce fish on land, we are in a learning phase."
Laksefjord, a wholly owned subsidiary of Leroy Aurora, started using RAS in 2013. The company recently invested in the expansion its post-smolt capacity at its facility in Finnmark.
Following the expansion, 90 percent of the company's total production will utilize RAS technology.