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A video of the Roxel Aqua concept for salmon farming using a jack-up rig. Video: Roxel Aqua.

A Norwegian company that wants to create a salmon farm comprised of submersible cages centred around a repurposed offshore rig has been given a second chance by Norway’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries.

Roxel Aqua applied for 14 development permits – equivalent to nearly 11,000 tonnes of biomass - under a scheme to encourage new farming methods but was turned down because Norwegian Fisheries Directorate officials said the concept did not meet a requirement for significant innovation.

That ruling has been overturned after an appeal to the ministry, but Roxel Aqua must provide more documentation about its concept, called Octopus, before its application will be reconsidered.

Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen:
Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen: "Parts of the concept are not as well documented as they should have been."

Future-oriented concept

“Roxel Aqua has a new, innovative and future-oriented concept. In our view, this means significant innovation, but it is also our assessment that parts of the concept are not as well documented as they should have been,” said fisheries minister, Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen.

“It is therefore a prerequisite that Roxel Aqua within six months, among other things, documents that the concept can be operated in exposed weather areas.”

Octopus comprises a modified jack-up rig surrounded by 12-14 tension-anchored submersible cages. The cages would be pulled down below the sea surface by means of winches on the rig.

Roxel Aqua will now have six months to fulfil the conditions in the ministry’s appeal decision. If it does so, the Fisheries Directorate will assess whether Roxel Aqua’s application fulfils other conditions for obtaining development permits, including the condition of significant investment. The appeal decision does not mean that Roxel Aqua AS will be granted development permits.