The salmon farm in Gaotang, Ningbo, in mid-February 2024.

China land-based salmon farmer prepares for first harvest

Nordic Aqua Partners reports 'excellent' results from test slaughter

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A land-based salmon farm in eastern China experienced good operational performance in the fourth quarter with the completion of construction work for Phase 1 according to the plan and budget, its Norwegian owner has reported.

Nordic Aqua Partners has just carried out a test harvest of fish with a live weight of 5kg, calling the quality “excellent”. The fish earmarked for its first commercial harvest had a weight of 4.6kg in mid-February and will be slaughtered in late March.

The biological performance is reported to be good for all batches, and the fish show strong growth, a mortality rate of less than 1.6% and no signs of sexual maturation.

“The fourth quarter of 2023 was another eventful quarter for Nordic Aqua. The biological performance was good during the quarter with good fish health and strong growth. We continued the important work of increasing management capacity and expertise as we continue to grow,” wrote chief executive Ragnar Joensen in the company’s Q4 report published today.

One of the fish from Nordic's recent test harvest.

Nordic Aqua Partners’ fish farm is located in Gaotang, in Ningbo, a city and prefecture with a population of nearly 10 million people. The farm will be built in three phases, taking capacity from 4,000 to 8,000 and then 20,000 tonnes.

During the quarter Nordic Aqua carried out a successful share issue, which strengthened liquidity and secured the necessary equity financing for Phase 2. The company is currently evaluating sources of debt financing for this second phase.

“We are ready to carry out the next steps in the development of the company towards 20,000 tonnes,” said Joensen.

3,400 tonnes this year

Preparations for the Phase 3 expansion, with first harvest possibly in 2027, are also well under way. According to the company, a final decision on timing for Phase 3 will be made during the third quarter of 2024.

Phase 2 of the Gaotang development commenced in Q3 2023. Hatchery and starter feeding will be completed by April 2024, with the first laying of ova expected in Q3 2024, and the first hatvest from Phase 2 expected in Q3 2026.

“Nordic Aqua expects that production will gradually increase through April to reach full-scale slaughter in the second quarter of 2024, with a target of a monthly slaughter volume of approximately 350 tonnes.”

Harvest volumes for 2024 are expected to be 3,400 tonnes.

Final work on the processing plant at Gaotang which will handle the first harvest next month.