The world’s biggest salmon farmer wants to grow fish in subsea cages that will initially be kept 15 metres below the surface and can be lowered to 50 metres if weather conditions require.
Mowi has applied for 36 Norwegian development licences for the project, called AquaStorm.
The cages would be located 12 kilometres off the coast in the Roan municipality of Trøndelag but could theoretically be used up to 100km offshore.
“This is the largest development project we have ever planned. AquaStorm moves the cages out of the fjords, and down into deep water where the fish are protected from salmon lice, disease and weather,” said Mowi project manager Henrik Trengereid.
The farms will be connected to a centre onshore by means of pipelines and cables on the seabed, ensuring remote control of feeding, air, lighting, power and signals.
Uneaten feed and fish waste will be returned to the onshore facility through the same pipelines.
The farms will be autonomous and without on-site staff during normal operation.
“This concept is fully automated, and everything will be monitored from a control centre on shore, which will give us complete control of how the fish are progressing, that they are fed and that all the technology works as it should,” said Trengereid.
“Today, the areas the fish farming industry has for production are limited. This technology opens up enormous areas for future growth of sustainable aquaculture in Norway,” added Trengereid.
He emphasised that the realisation of the concept depends on the authorities granting the project enough permits. Norway’s development licences allow fish farmers extra biomass for a limited period to offset the cost of developing new and innovative ways of growing salmon.
Leading technology players
Norwegian-owned Mowi has a number of leading technology players from the subsea and oil industries as collaborators. In addition to leading Norwegian research institutions Nofima and Sintef as R&D partners, Mowi also has Aqualine, Kongsberg, ABB and Stellarman on the team.
Stein Lier-Hansen, chief executive of Norsk Industri, which represents a diverse section of the country’s industry, believes the project is an ideal for the development licence scheme.
“This project represents the best of Norwegian expertise from the sea. In AquaStorm, the country’s cutting-edge expertise in aquaculture, subsea and oil activities is utilised to create an even more sustainable and future-oriented industry. It is precisely such projects that Norwegian authorities and politicians must facilitate,” said Lier-Hansen.
Mowi’s application is now being processed by Norway’s Fisheries Directorate, and a clarification of the application is expected in the coming months.
The company already has alternative development licence projects, including the Marine Donut and the Egg, both floating closed containment facilities. Neither project received the full number of licences Mowi applied for.