Morten Malle of Vikings (left) and AKVA's Jacob Bregnballe. Photo: AKVA

Salmon in the desert moves a step closer

A desert salmon farming venture has moved a step closer after Norwegian company Vikings agreed a deal with AKVA.

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The agreement is for the design of a number of land-based salmon farms in the Middle East, said AKVA in a press release.

Vikings chief technical officer Morten Malle said: ‘In the Vikings team, we are very pleased to have entered into this cooperation agreement with AKVA group on the design of our facilities and as a strong technology partner in the Middle East.


‘For Vikings it has been important to get an experienced and solid technology partner on board, and AKVA group is a partner who shares Vikings’ vision for sustainable aquaculture.

‘Only a few RAS suppliers have long-term experience in the design, construction, and operation of modern land-based fish farming in this region, AKVA group being one of them.’

Vikings’ scheme was unveiled last year during the Aqua Nor show in Trondheim, with the location of its first $90 million facility identified as Saudi Arabia.

Vikings CEO Lukas Havn, who is based in Dubai, UAE, said then that the initial plan was to produce 5,000 tonnes in a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS), with future ambitions to grow more species and greater volumes.

Havn said that the goal was to improve food security in the region, which relies heavily on imported seafood.


The Saudi regime has launched a campaign to boost seafood consumption per capita, and part of the plan is to increase aquaculture production, from 77,000 tonnes a year (mainly shrimp) to 600,000 tonnes by 2030.

AKVA group Land Based’s sales director, Jacob Bregnballe, who has extensive experience of land-based projects in the region, said: ‘It is a challenge to build successful aquaculture projects in the Middle East and you really need to have a strong entity working tightly together.

‘Many things are done differently in this region, often in ways we do not face on home grounds.

‘In our new working relationship with Vikings we believe we have an excellent and ambitious team.

‘Vikings have been progressing fast in the past few months and we can't wait to be part of the good progress.’