New Zealand King Salmon said Thursday it received government approval to proceed with the development of the country's first open-ocean aquaculture project.

Company CEO Carl Carrington hailed the approval as a milestone for both the company and the country. The project is the first to pursue king salmon farming in an offshore setting, the company said.

“The next step will be a ‘proof-of-concept’ phase, putting in the trial pens from June 2025," he said. "This is when it starts to get exciting from a farming point of view – building a smaller-scale pilot farm so that we can trial new infrastructure while monitoring the welfare of our salmon to ensure they can thrive."

For several years, the company has tried to get the offshore farming operation called Blue Endeavor off of the ground. The farm is ultimately expected to produce 10,000 metric tons of king salmon.

Blue Endeavour, when fully operational, could generate NZD $300 million ($183 million/€169 million) annually, the company said.

The company said it undertook comprehensive assessments of the environmental effects and applied independent science from the Cawthron Institute, SLR Consulting and Robertson Environmental for the project.

The farm will be located 7 kilometers off Cape Lambert in the country's Cook Strait. It will comprise two blocks of 10 circular pens. The total farm will cover less than 12 surface hectares, according to the company.

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