Dongwon Industries will invest about KRW 200 billion ($168.5 million/€142.1 million) in 35,000 pyeong (116,000 square meters) of land in Gangwon Province, South Korea, for construction of a land-based salmon farming complex, reports Korea IT Times.

Dongwon, which counts among its global subsidiaries the US tuna brand Starkist, said it anticipates 20,000 metric tons of production from the facility, which it will produce using technology developed by Norwegian land-based salmon farmer Salmon Evolution. Dongwon injected NOK 50 million (€4.7 million/$5.5 million) in July, giving the company a close to 10 percent stake in Salmon Evolution.

"During the fierce global food resource war, we have established our own domestic salmon farming complex to secure stable and sustainable fisheries resources," said Dongwon CEO Lee Myung-Woo.

"We plan to foster it as Asia's largest fisheries bio-industrial complex in the future."

20,000 tons of salmon

Construction of the land-based salmon farm begins this year, and Dongwon plans for it to be operational next year.

Unlike more technical and expensive RAS systems employed by the likes of Atlantic Sapphire, Dongwon will employ the flow-through land-based farming system used by Salmon Evolution.

Dongwon aims to produce 20,000 tons of salmon annually and achieve KRW 200 billion ($168.5 million/€142.1 million) in annual sales through the land-based salmon farming complexes.

It also plans to establish an R&D center and salmon processing facility in the aquaculture complex to unify the entire process from the production of salmon to manufacturing and distribution, and directly manage the quality of salmon.

Fast on the heels of Salmon Evolution investment

One of the world's largest seafood companies, Dongwon invested in Norwegian land-based salmon producer Salmon Evolution at the end of July, announcing then undisclosed plans for production in its domestic market.

For NOK 50 million (€4.7 million/$5.5 million), the South Korean giant got an ownership stake of close to 10 percent in Salmon Evolution, making it one of the largest owners.

"Dongwon is a giant and one of the world's largest seafood companies," Salmon Evolution Chairman Tore Tonseth told DN at the time. "It is very interesting that they now enter as a co-investor and partner with Salmon Evolution.

A rapidly growing salmon market

South Korea is a dynamic seafood market whose imports have grown quickly, with salmon in particular a new favorite.

In a short period of time South Korea has gone from being "a peripheral seafood market to our second largest in Asia," the Norwegian Seafood Council wrote in a 2019 report.

Since 2008, the value of Norwegian seafood exports has increased nearly tenfold, from NOK 240 million (€23 million/$27.4 million) to NOK 2.3 billion (€220 million/$262 million). Over the same period, volumes have increased by more than 550 percent. Salmon, though a relatively new species in the market, has been a key driver of this growth, particularly since South Korean consumers prefer fresh fish.

"Consumption of Norwegian salmon has seen incredible growth in recent years," according to the group.


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