Oslo-listed salmon farmer SalMar plans to invest a total of NOK 1.4 billion (€125 million/$136 million) into hatcheries, sea farms and offshore operations this year as part of its continuing drive to increase production capacity.

A slew of new projects are in the pipeline for the group, including increasing capacity in its smolt facility in Senja, Northern Norway at a projected cost of NOK 850 million (€75 million/$82 million).

SalMar expects to start construction during the second quarter of this year, with the first smolt being delivered in 2022. The company is also seeking to build a new hatchery at Tjuin in Trondelag, where it purchased land in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Some NOK 556 million (€49 million/$54 million) will be put into increasing capacity at SalMar's processing plant, InnovaNor, in Lenvik in Troms Norway. Production is expected to begin in the second half of 2021.

SalMar will also continue to pursue its offshore salmon farming ambitions. Around NOK 56 million (€5 million/$5 million) will go to SalMar Ocean to further develop "Smart Fish Farm," which was awarded eight development licenses in 2019 through its shareholding in MariCulture.

The farm, which can be anchored in heavily exposed areas up to 30 miles off the coastline, will be the world's first plant designed for offshore farming in the open sea. SalMar launched offshore operation Ocean Farm 1, which has been operating since 2017.

The Norwegian company also purchased additional capacity under the government's aquaculture "traffic light" system. SalMar paid NOK 106 million (€9 million/$10 million) for the additional capacity.

Under the system, the Norwegian coast is divided into 13 production areas.Restrictions on production growth are based on wild salmon mortality from sealice in the respective areas.

The company is planning to participate in an auction round set for June 23, under the condition that it takes place "on commercially acceptable terms."