The original illustration of Pure Salmon's Japan facility. Work is expected to start this year. Image: Pure Salmon.

Pure Salmon lines up Ace Aquatec stunner for RAS plants

Dundee-headquartered aquaculture and technology specialist Ace Aquatec is set to supply its electric fish stunner to on-land fish farmer Pure Salmon.

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Pure Salmon, owned by aquaculture investment company 8F Asset Management, has been employing Ace Aquatec as an expert consultant in the design of its first facilities planned for Japan, France and the United States.

The company intends to produce 260,000 tonnes of fish a year in 10,000- and 20,000-tonne-capacity egg-to-package recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facilities around the world.

Innovation Award

It has plans to use Ace Aquatec’s electrical stunner throughout its RAS facilities as part of an approach to bid to adopt the highest animal welfare standards and develop top quality produce.

Ace Aquatec’s pre-slaughter Humane Stunner Universal (HSU) stuns fish while they are still in the water. Ace Aquatec says this reduces stress and reduces the release of the stress hormone, cortisol, which can affect the quality of the meat. The HSU won the prestigious Innovation Award at the world’s biggest aquaculture show, Aqua Nor, in Trondheim in 2017.

Preben Imset Matre: Pure Salmon's vision "is a perfect fit for our technology and products". Photo: Ace Aquatec.

Close collaboration

Ace Aquatec’s northern Europe regional manager, Preben Imset Matre, has been in talks with Pure Salmon since last year.

He said: “Over the last few months, we’ve been working closely with Pure Salmon on their upcoming harvesting facilities in Japan, France and USA. We are grateful for their trust, and very pleased with the collaboration. Pure Salmon’s vision of building state-of-the-art production and harvesting facilities that puts fish welfare at the forefront is a perfect fit for our technology and products.

“We’re looking forward to supporting the team with a bespoke product that reaches their ultimate goals of high animal welfare and better products.”

David Cahill, global head of production for Pure Salmon, said: “Conscious fish husbandry and animal welfare are at the core of Pure Salmon’s mission to accelerate the transition towards healthy and sustainable protein. Ace Aquatec’s innovative solutions are helping us raise the bar and achieve more humane and respectful harvesting.”

Karim Ghannam last year said construction in Japan and the US is expected to start in early 2022.

Pure Salmon Kaldnes

Pure Salmon’s facilities were originally due to be built by Israeli RAS specialist AquaMaof, but the partnership split when 8F Asset Management bought the Norwegian RAS division of Krüger Kaldnes from international water and waste giant Veolia and formed a new company – Pure Salmon Kaldnes RAS. That company will now build the RAS facilities.

Pure Salmon planned to have its first on-land salmon farm up and running by 2021 but has not yet built any facilities.

Last year, 8F co-founder and chief executive Karim Ghannam told Fish Farming Expert magazine that Covid had added further delays to the Japan project that was already behind schedule, but said progress would be made this year.

“For both Japan and the US, we’re doing all the necessary land preparations and permitting, and hope to start construction as soon as possible – in early 2022 at this point,” said Ghannam.

Japan and US first

The 10,000-tonne facilities in Japan and in Tazewell County in the US state of Virginia will be the first to break ground, with construction of another RAS of the same size starting in Brunei in the middle of this year, he told FFE.

Work on a €175 million, 10,000-tonne facility in Boulogne, France, will start at around the same time, said Ghannam. Construction of Pure Salmon’s first 20,000-tonne facility, in Abu Dhabi, may also begin this year.

Pure Salmon also plans five 20,000-tonne facilities in China, and one of the same size in the land-locked southern African state of Lesotho, although that too has been severely delayed by Covid.

$358m fund

Pure Salmon’s Japan, Virginia and France facilities are being financed from the 8F Aquaculture Fund I LP fund that closed, together with its parallel fund 8F Aquaculture Fund I (Ireland), with capital commitments of US $358 million.

“Realistically your’e looking at the first eggs in at the end of 2023 or early 2024, in the US and Japan,” Ghannam told FFE, who added that Pure Salmon was sourcing eggs from UK-headquartered aquaculture biotechnology company Benchmark.