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SalMar applies for open sea site for 19,000t fish farm

SalMar's Smart Fish Farm will be able to hold 19,000 tonnes of salmon. Image: SalMar.
SalMar's Smart Fish Farm will be able to hold 19,000 tonnes of salmon. Image: SalMar.

Salmon farmer SalMar has applied for permission to site its planned Smart Fish Farm (SFF) in an area of open sea between 30 and 70 miles off the Norwegian coast.

SalMar, which co-owns Scottish Sea Farms, is applying for the site to be approved for a maximum permitted biomass of 19,000 tonnes, which is what the SFF is dimensioned to produce.

In 2019, the SalMar subsidiary MariCulture AS received a commitment for eight development permits for testing the technology in the SFF concept, and it is this facility that is planned to be established on the site, the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries announced in a statement on Friday.

Norway’s Fisheries Directorate has previously mapped and identified areas that may be suitable for aquaculture at sea, in collaboration with the Institute of Marine Research (IMR). 

SalMar's application takes salmon farming further off the coast than it has been before. Click on image to enlarge.
SalMar's application takes salmon farming further off the coast than it has been before. Click on image to enlarge.

First open sea application

The locality applied for is on the edge of what the Fisheries Directorate calls Area 11 Frøyabanken nord. The area is located off the Trøndelag coast and is recommended for impact assessment for aquaculture. This is the first time someone has applied for approval of a site for aquaculture in the open sea.

The Fisheries Directorate will process the application as the site is outside the scope of the Planning and Building Act. SalMar’s full 78-page application (in Norwegian) can be downloaded from the Fisheries Directorate website here.

SalMar’s Smart Fish Farm is an evolutionary next step from the company’s Ocean Farm 1, a large-scale salmon cage successfully trialled off the coast of Trøndelag.

Scottish Sea Farms is exploring the possibility of building its own Ocean Farm-style offshore farm and has the backing of co-owners SalMar and Lerøy.

An image from the cover of SalMar's application gives some idea of how far off the coast the SFF would be located. Image: SalMar.
An image from the cover of SalMar's application gives some idea of how far off the coast the SFF would be located. Image: SalMar.