Construction of all 12 tanks in the first phase of the Salmon Evolution farm has been completed, although work remains to be done on some. Photo: Salmon Evolution Q1 presentation.

Salmon Evolution on target for harvest as first fish thrive

The first smolts stocked at the Salmon Evolution on-land fish farm in Norway have more than doubled in size, reaching an average weight of 725 grams as of May 21, the company said today.

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Salmon Evolution, which eventually plans to produce 31,500 tonnes (head on gutted) of salmon a year at its Harøy Island site, stocked around 100,000 smolts with an average weight of 300g at the hybrid recirculation / flow-through facility on March 31.

The original 30-tonne biomass has now increased to 73 tonnes, and Salmon Evolution plans its first harvest during the fourth quarter, “well ahead of year end”.

Salmon Evolution is now using well over a tonne of feed per day. Graphic: salmon Evolution.

Feed milestone

“The Company is very pleased to see that the fish are responding very well to feeding and on 30 April a significant milestone was reached when the daily feeding volume for the first time exceeded 1 tonne, which represented more than 2% of the standing biomass,” Salmon Evolution said in a press release accompanying its report for the first quarter of 2022.

“The positive trend has continued in May with average daily feeding exceeding 2% of the biomass.”

Good biology

Chief executive Håkon André Berg said: “Since we started construction back in May 2020, the first smolt release has been the moment that we all have been waiting for. I am extremely proud of our organisation and the fact that we have been able to adhere to our ambitious timeline, even with the challenges faced us during the pandemic.

“At the same time, this is just the beginning. As we now move forward, our number one priority is the biology in our farm. Good biology will improve fish quality and translate into strong growth, which finally will be reflected in the financial performance.”

Salmon Evolution is building its farm in three phases, with the first two phases each designed to produce 7,900 HOG tonnes per year and the third phase 15,800 HOG tonnes.

All 12 fish tanks in phase 1 have been assembled by contractor Artec Aqua, and remaining phase 1 work will be focused on installation of equipment. Salmon Evolution and Artec Aqua have signed a Heads of Terms agreement for phase 2. Construction is expected to start by the end of the year on the back of completion and successful ramp up of phase 1.

Salmon Evolution will move towards steady state production as tanks become available. Graphic: Salmon Evolution.

Steady state

Salmon Evolution’s stocking plan envisages releases of smaller (130g) smolts going forward, with a batch of 150,000 fish being stocked before the end of the current quarter, 100,000 in Q3 and a further 200,000 in the autumn. Beyond that, the company is aiming to achieve a steady state volume with a smolt release every second month.

Salmon Evolution’s K Smart joint venture with South Korean giant Dongwon Industries is continuing to work towards regulatory approval following constructive dialogue with Korean authorities, the company said in its Q1 presentation.

Dongwon, which owns 51% of the JV, will provide 75% of the debt financing for the two-phase project that will produce 16,800 HOG tonnes of salmon annually. Construction of phase 1, which will produce 8,400 HOG tonnes, is slated for this year, with first grow-out production of 2024.