Norwegian fish farming company Norsal has signed a contract with Norwegian engineering consultancy Multiconsult for construction of a 30,000-metric-ton land-based salmon farm in Yantai, China.

After completion of the first phase of construction, the plant will have production capacity of 10,000 metric tons of harvested fish a year, building to 30,000 metric tons in phase two. Multiconsult will carry out preliminary work on the pilot project, which will then be taken over by a local Chinese company.

"The contract is very important to us, as it is the first major contract we have won for a fish farm to be built in China," said Multiconsult Department Manager Erlend Kent.

"Here, it is planned to build a number of such facilities in the years to come. The pilot project will give us valuable knowledge about local Chinese conditions such as relations with the authorities, culture and how the construction industry operates there."

Yantai is a key area for fish and seafood in China, with access to a growing national market for high quality salmon. The area is also classified as a "free trade zone."

The province in which Yantai is situated, Shandong, has over 100 million inhabitants and is close to both international airports, ports, high-speed trains and important markets in neighboring countries such as Korea and Japan.

"The big advantage of the planned facility is the location in the immediate geographical proximity to the major markets," said Kent. "This will provide significant cost savings related to air freight, which will also provide a solid environmental benefit and significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions to the end user. In the pilot project, Multiconsult will, among other things, contribute expertise in the subjects aqua, construction, electrical, heating and ventilation systems, fire safety and biogas."

LINK Arkitektur is already engaged as a supplier of architectural services, while Billund is signed up for development of the recirculating aquaculture system (RAS).

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Norsal -- headquartered in Stavanger, Norway -- is planning to kickstart the project in the first quarter of 2021, spending $198 million (€165.1 million) to construct the hatchery, grow-out tanks and processing facility, with the goal of producing 10,000 metric tons.

The second phase investment will be about $200 million (€166.8 million) to build a further hatchery and growth tanks, with the company ultimately aiming to ramp up production to 20,000 metric tons.

On Nov. 14, the company created a domestic Chinese firm -- Nuo Fresh Salmon (Yantai) Biotechnology Co., Ltd -- with a registered capital of $66 million (€55 million).

Nutreco-backed land-based salmon farmer Nordic Aqua Partners is also planning a project in Ningbo, China.

The company successfully completed a private placement of new shares in November, raising €55.1 million ($65.4 million).

NAP's Ningbo facility is expected to produce 8,000 metric tons of land-based salmon per year by 2026.

In connection with the private placement, the company also listed on the Euronext Growth Oslo in early December.