A fish grown in an on-land system. Nova Q, which supplies beneficial bacteria products for RAS biofilters, has signed a distribution deal with VESO. Photo: Nova Q.

Irish RAS bacteria supplier targets Norway, Faroes and Iceland

Irish environmental sustainability specialist Nova Q’s RAS Right range of bacterial products and microbiome management techniques is being made available to recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) salmon farmers across Norway, the Faroe Islands, and Iceland following a distribution deal with Norwegian fish health products supplier VESO.

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Nova Q’s products maintain high levels of beneficial bacteria in RAS biofilters, removing toxins and contaminants and outcompeting undesirable species.

The company claims this active maintenance of bacteria levels is better than the current standard practice of simply “seeding” a biofilter with beneficial bacteria and allow bacteria populations to develop without control, as a seeding-only approach can lead to undesirable bacteria species developing and taking hold in the biofilter.

RAS Right products are already used by farmers in the UK, Norway, Denmark, US, and Canada - not only for salmon but also shrimp, sea bream, sea bass and trout. But the new partnership is focused on expanding in the largest individual RAS segment globally, Atlantic salmon RAS in Norway, the Faroes, and Iceland.

Lands of opportunity

Norwegian salmon farmers are investing heavily in new RAS to grow larger smolts that will be more robust when they are transferred to net pens and spend less time in the sea. There are also several egg-to-harvest on-land salmon farms under construction or planned in the country.

In the Faroes, where a one-farmer-per-fjord policy means producers must make the best use of the sites they’ve already got, Bakkafrost has been increasing RAS capacity to grow all its smolts to 500g, while another producer, Hiddenfjord, already grows its fish to an average weight of 600-650g on land.

In Iceland, Samherji plans a 40,000 tonnes-per-year on-land salmon farm next to a geothermal power plant that will provide it with both warm water and electricity.

‘A proven solution’

Dublin-based Nova Q delivers products and process innovations across agriculture, aquaculture, activated carbon, water, organics recycling, and industrial cleaning sectors.

The firm’s managing director, Julian Beatty, said: “We’ve developed the RAS Right range with our global partners over the last four years, using our experience in bacterial remediation of wastewater systems, as a proven solution to improve the water quality of RAS.

“This new agreement with VESO – already a trusted partner to many RAS farms across Norway, Iceland, and the Faroes – will drive this solution in these key markets.”

VESO chief executive Arne Ruud said: “This new partnership recognises that good water quality is a fundamental requirement of good fish health. RAS Right nitrifying bacteria are a proven solution, and Nova Q have the technical expertise to support our team in developing this market.”