Fry facility will ‘breathe new life into cod farming’
Norwegian fisheries minister Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen broke ground today at a new cod fry facility that is licensed to produce 24 million fry a year.
The plant, on Fjord Base, an industrial complex in Florø, Norway’s westernmost town, is a 50-50 joint venture between cod farmer Norcod and fry producer Havlandet Marin Yngel. It is expected to receive its first fish in the autumn of 2022.
Norcod, which farms in Central Norway, hopes to become the world's first industrial-scale producer of farmed cod. The company, listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange's Merkur Market in 2020, is aiming for a harvest volume of 25,000 tonnes.
‘It is brilliant that there is again a focus on cod farming,’ said Ingebrigtsen, who flew in from Oslo for the occasion.
‘With improvements in breeding and production, cod farming has a better starting point for profitable production now than before.
‘It opens up new opportunities for year-round jobs, which is especially important in counteracting relocation in rural areas. It is a big day and a big investment in cod farming. I applaud everyone who bets.’
Havlandet has 20 years’ experience with the land-based production of cod fry, but until a few years ago, the company had no buyers for the product.
It persevered with its programme out of sheer optimism that the market would one day resurface, a gamble that paid off with Norcod’s success.
Havlandet is breeding its seventh-generation farmed cod, with the fish now domesticated, with excellent farming characteristics and genetics, reflecting the partners' belief in the species as an important new aquaculture product.
The investment in a new fry facility will ensure reliable deliveries of fry for both companies in the future, as well as creating capacity to increase sales to other market players.
The general manager of Havlandet, Halvard Hovland, said the plant was ‘an important milestone’ and he praised his team for making such good progress, both in terms of growth rate and fish health, since they started out in 2000.
‘If everything goes according to plan, we will also build a land-based production facility for juvenile fish and food fish,’ he added.
‘We are very pleased to be collaborating with Norcod during this first phase of a major expansion at Fjord Base, and we are proud to be involved in helping them breathe new life into the cod farming industry.’
Norcod CEO Christian Riber said: ‘For cod farming to be successful, it is very important to start with the best possible fish biology, and fry of the highest quality. This new plant will be a fantastic starting point for our production cycles.
‘We are fast approaching our first commercial slaughter this autumn, and the whole team is looking forward to generating income.
‘In our target markets, we have robust agreements in place with buyers who look forward to delivering our high-quality product to them; delicate, fresh farmed cod that is available all year round.’