Cherry salmon being lifted from a tank at a facility already developed by Mitsubishi's Atland partner Maruha Nichiro.

Cermaq owner Mitsubishi building on-land salmon farm

Industrial giant Mitsubishi, which owns salmon farming heavyweight Cermaq, is to form a joint venture with fishing and aquaculture company Maruha Nichiro to construct an on-land salmon farm in Japan.

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The new company, Atland Corporation, will build the 2,500-tonne capacity recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facility in the town of Nyuzen in Toyama prefecture and will draw sea water from a depth of 300 metres or more, where the water has a low, stable temperature.

Mitsubishi said it had been discussing the project with Maruha Nichiro since March 2021.

Local consumption

“This project is expected to help develop a sustainable and stable land-based production system, efficient digital-tech-based operations, local production for local consumption, and progress in decarbonisation,” said Mitsubishi in a press release yesterday.

The company added that the aim of the project was to create a local-production-for-local-consumption business model in Japan’s salmon industry.

“This business model is expected to produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to the practice of importing fresh salmon to Japan by air from salmon-farming countries,” said Mitsubishi.

“In addition, land-based aquaculture that uses RAS is highly compatible with digital technologies. These systems use advanced water-treatment technologies to control and manage the farming environment. By employing these methods, we aim to take advantage of artificial intelligence and Internet of Things to stabilise production, and otherwise optimise our own salmon farming operations.”

On the market in 2027

Cermaq farms salmon in marine pens in Norway, Canada, and Chile, and harvested more than 190,000 gutted weight tonnes last year, making it the world’s second biggest Atlantic salmon farmer by volume in 2021, behind Mowi.

Maruha Nichiro’s aquaculture operations include marine farming of tuna, and an on-land farm to grow cherry salmon (Oncorhynchus masou) in Japan.

The Atland RAS facility is expected to start operating in 2025 and deliver its first salmon in 2027.