The 200,000 smolts with an average weight of 120 grams smolts were supplied by Nordland Akva AS and were pumped directly into the tank from a wellboat offshore on Saturday.
“Release of first smolt is obviously an important and enjoyable milestone for Andfjord Salmon. The operation was well prepared and was executed in a safe and predictable manner,” said Andfjord chief executive Martin Rasmussen in a press release.
A great start
“Our concept is centred around recreating the salmon’s natural habitat on land, as far as it is practically possible to do so. We are now entering a period with increasing amount of natural light and rising temperatures. This is good for fish health and development.”
The smolts quickly adapted to their new surroundings after being released into the pool on Saturday, and the biological conditions in the pool are exactly as planned, said Andfjord.
“This has been a great start, but the hard work starts now. We look forward to proving the many excellent benefits of our land-based fish farming facility in the coming months and years,” said Rasmussen.
Low energy use
Andfjord uses a flow-through system and draws seawater from a depth of 25-30 metres in summer and from 160 metres in winter, which will ensure a stable temperature of 7 to 12 degrees all year round. Because its salmon pools are dug into the bedrock and the water inlets are below sea level, pumping the water into the pools requires very little energy, the company has explained.
The pool stocked on Saturday has capacity for around 1,000 tonnes of salmon. Andfjord Salmon holds a licence for 10,000 tonnes maximum allowed biomass at Kvalnes, equivalent to a target production volume of 19,000 tonnes head on gutted.
Work is progressing on other pools at the site, and Andøya municipal council has approved a zoning plan application from Andfjord Salmon for the development of a second land-based fish farm at Breivik, north of Kvalnes.
Andfjord also wants to build a third site at Fiskenes, north of Breivik and close to Andøya’s airport, but airlines and Norway’s civil aviation authority have expressed concerns that it might increase the risk of bird strikes and that lighting could be a visual distraction for pilots.
If Andfjord gets all three sites up and running, it will produce around 69,000 tonnes HOG of salmon annually.