The fish farmer said the agreement, which comes two years before the Tsu City facility goes into production, is a major vote of confidence in the firm’s business vision from one of Asia’s most prestigious trading corporations.
Pure Salmon’s Japanese subsidiary, Soul of Japan, will produce 10,000 tonnes of Atlantic salmon annually in the recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) supplied by Israel’s AquaMaof.
Kenichi Tai, chief operations officer for Itochu’s fresh food division, said: “We are delighted to have signed this landmark agreement with Soul of Japan which will bring fresh, healthy and sustainable salmon to our customers in the Japanese market.
“We also look forward to developing and broadening this relationship in the future to include other markets where Pure Salmon is building land-based salmon facilities.”
Pure Salmon director Stephane Farouze, who is chairman and founder of the company’s owner, 8F Asset Management, said: “This agreement, with one of the largest and most respected distribution partners in the region, is further proof of the huge appetite in Asia for fresh, sustainable, land-farmed salmon.
“It is a significant achievement for us, and a major milestone on our journey to providing consumers around the world with safe, environmentally-friendly salmon, free from microplastics, antibiotics, pesticides and other contaminants.”
Soul of Japan chief executive Erol Emed said the retail value of the agreement was worth approximately US$200m annually.
“Our distribution deal with Itochu is a significant validation of our strategy and vision,” said Emed. “And it should be a clear indication to the industry that, despite being a new business, we have a product and an operation that should be taken very seriously.”
Pure Salmon says the Tsu City facility is an optimum distance from Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka, allowing easy distribution to Japan’s most populous main consumption centres. At 137,000 square metres, it will be the largest land-based salmon farm ever built in Asia.
Pure Salmon recently announced a deal to build a RAS salmon farm in land-locked Lesotho.
It shares ownership of a fully operational facility in Poland with AquaMaof, and has projects planned in Japan, Europe, the United States and China.
Pure Salmon aims to produce 260,000 tons of salmon per annum in facilities close to major population centres around the world.