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Bakkafrost is the largest fish farming company in the Faroe Islands.
Bakkafrost is the largest fish farming company in the Faroe Islands.

Faroese salmon company Bakkafrost says work is well under way on construction of the world’s largest smolt farm, which is expected to be completed next year.

The investment, estimated to cost between about 600 krónur (£70m), is intended to increase productivity by minimising the risk of salmon lice and other diseases.

“We are building the new smolt farm in order to increase the size of the smolt," Leif av Reyni, fresh water manager at Bakkafrost, told faroeislands.fo. "Currently, the smolt weighs about 120g. The aim is to produce smolt with an average weight of 500g.

“We want to shorten the production time at sea by approximately six months. By keeping the smolt in a controlled environment for longer, the risk of disease and sea lice will be greatly reduced.”

14 million smolt a year

After being transferred from the smolt farm on land to the sea, a young salmon of 120g will grow for a year and a half before reaching 6-6.5 kg, the ideal weight to be caught and sold. By increasing the average smolt weight to 500g, the salmon will only spend between 9-12 months at sea according to av Reyni.

“The generational interval is thus shortened by 30 per cent, which makes it possible to increase the overall production,” av Reyni said.

The company hopes to produce 14 million smolt annually. The new farm, which is located in Klaksvík, the second largest city in the Faroe Islands, will span across an area of 21,000 sq metres. The building will be 320 metres long, the length of more than three football pitches.

Av Reyni said: “About 60-70 percent of the concrete construction has already been completed. The first third of the building is expected to be completely finished in November.”

Bakkafrost is the largest fish farming company, as well as one of the biggest private employers, in the Faroe Islands. The new facility is expected to create an additional 15 jobs.