Chief executive Martin Rasmussen next to the first pool, which will be stocked this month. Photo: Andfjord Salmon.

First smolts will go into unique fish farm this month

Andfjord Salmon, which is developing a novel on-land salmon farm on the island of Andøya in Norway, will stock its first pool with smolts towards the end of this month, it announced today.

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The company has excavated a large hole in the island’s bedrock to create a large flow-through salmon pool that is below sea level. Andfjord says this significantly reduces the energy required to pump seawater into the pool.

More pools are being excavated and built beside the first one.

Andfjord Salmon's pools are below sea level, which makes pumping water from depth less energy intensive.

Mimicking nature

“Our entire set-up is based on an idea of recreating the salmon’s natural habitat on land,” said chief executive Martin Rasmussen in a market update. “We have applied this philosophy when planning the smolt release too. Smolt release in late June coincides with the wild salmon’s migration period here at Andøya.

“Further, an increasing amount of natural light and period with rising temperatures is good for fish health and development. This is why ultimo June has been chosen for smolt release.”

Tested and ready

Andfjord Salmon said that during the past few months the first pool has been operational 24/7, as if smolts were already released in the pool. The company added that it has conducted a continuous and complete technical and organisational simulation during this period, to make sure that all technology, equipment and personnel are well prepared for smolt release.

All biological sensors are installed, and the cleaning robots have been extensively tested. Back-up systems and solutions have been subject to comprehensive testing. The line for receipt and delivery of fish is also in place.

“Our objective is to create the most sustainable and fish-friendly facility of its kind,” said Rasmussen. “A meticulous approach towards ensuring the best possible biological conditions for the salmon is, in our view, key to achieve this goal. I am pleased to say that everything has gone according to plan during our extensive preparations.”

69,000 gwt ambition

Andfjord Salmon plans to eventually produce 19,000 gutted weight tonnes of salmon a year at the facility, which is being built in three phases and is situated at Kvalnes on the island’s east coast.

The company plans two more farms further north on the same coast, at Breivik and Fiskenes, each of which would produce 25,000 gwt per year.

Andfjord said approvals of the zoning plans for the two sites were key steps towards realising its ambitions. Andøy municipality is managing the zoning plan process, and has received objections to the Fiskenes site plan from Norway’s aviation authority, airports operator and an airline, due to the site’s proximity to the island’s airport.