An illustration of Pure Salmon's planned 10,000-tonnes-per-year salmon RAS at a disused port terminal in Verdon-sur-Mer, north of Bordeaux.

Pure Salmon pushes forward in France

Land-based salmon farmer submits extra environmental evidence for 10,000-tonnes-per-year RAS facility


Land-based fish farmer Pure Salmon has submitted an updated version of a key document required for permission for its planned 10,000-tonnes-per-year recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facility at a disused port terminal in Verdon-sur-Mer, north of Bordeaux, France.

Pure Salmon, owned by investment fund 8F Asset Management, first submitted the ICPE (Facilities classified for environmental protection) document at the beginning of this year, but the Gironde prefecture requested additional studies concerning water management, reports Sud Ouest newspaper.

The company, which plans to use groundwater to fill its tanks, carried out new field studies over several months, relying on the hydrogeological skills of ArcaGée, an expert and operational consultancy in environmental intelligence and decision-making.

Access to water

Sud Ouest quotes Paul Miliotis, board chairman of Pure Salmon France, as saying: “This new study confirms that the project will have access to the necessary brackish water resources and that there are no hydraulic relationships with the summit of the Middle Eocene formations, not very permeable and already containing brackish salt water. The latest tests have also demonstrated that the pumping of brackish water into the Quaternary sands has no influence on the pressure in the Eocene.”

Pure Salmon says it plans to pump water at a depth of approximately 30 metres, will have no impact on the deep aquifers which are reservoirs of drinking water.

The company also indicates that the water released by its RAS facility into the Gironde estuary will be “water filtered and treated in compliance with standards that go beyond regulatory requirements, without impact on biodiversity”. On this point, the company ensures that it benefits from advanced technologies, having acquired leading water treatment company Kruger Kaldnes (now Pure Salmon Kaldnes).

Controlled deadlines

Sud Ouest explains that the industrial port zone of Pointe du Médoc, where Pure Salmon plans to site its facility, was selected by the State as a “turnkey industrial site” which allows the processing of the authorisations necessary for the establishment of a new industrial activity within controlled deadlines.

The aim of such sites is to facilitate the reindustrialisation of areas with a lack of economic activity and high unemployment. Pure Salmon is promising 250 jobs and an investment estimated at €275 million (£238m).

Sud Ouest reports that a public inquiry into the salmon farm plan is likely to begin at the start of 2024. If Pure Salmon manages to pass all the administrative authorisation stages, the construction phase of the factory should start in 2025, with production beginning in 2027.

The newspaper adds that environmentalists have denounced “the harmful effects that such a factory could have on the environment”, but that during various public meetings organised by Pure Salmon France, the local population “appeared rather favourable to the project”. The salmon farm also has the support of local elected officials through the Médoc Atlantique community of communes.

Pure Salmon is already processing salmon for sale in France under different brands.

260,000 tonnes per year

Pure Salmon already operates a smoked salmon and salmon pet food factory in Boulogne, which was the original proposed site of its RAS facility.

The company, headquartered in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, has an ambition to produce 260,000 tonnes of salmon annually in RAS throughout the globe, and currently has four facilities either under construction or in the permitting process in its first phase.

These are in France; in Tsu City, Mie Prefecture, Japan; and in Tazewell County, Virginia, in the United States (all 10,000 tonnes); and in Negara Brunei Darussalam (5,000 tonnes, with an extension to 10,000 tonnes).

According to a statement on its website, Pure Salmon is finalising plans for further deployment, especially in China and the Middle East, to reach its global ambition of becoming the world’s leading sustainable RAS salmon producer.