Fish in one of the large pools in Salmon Evolution's facility on Harøy Island, Norway.

Salmon Evolution looks at Native American land for US farm

It’s a concept that we find intriguing, says Washington tribe’s chairman


Norwegian on-land fish farmer Salmon Evolution has held exploratory talks with a Native American tribe about siting a new facility on its land in Washington state, aquaculture website Undercurrent News (UCN) reports.

Ron Allen, chairman and chief executive of the Jamestown S'Klallam tribe, told UCN that he had met twice with company representatives, including Seattle-based Todd Deligan, who Salmon Evolution employed to lead the search for a site.

Allen said that the second meeting in late autumn 2022 involved a four-to-five-hour presentation on Salmon Evolution’s operations and its hybrid system which uses both recirculation and flow-through technology.

Optimal temperature

“It’s a concept that we find intriguing,” Allen told UCN, adding that Salmon Evolution was encouraging tribal representatives to visit its facility on Harøy Island, Norway, so they can see how it works.

Allen told UCN that the tribe has a property that meets Salmon Evolution’s requirements for 30- to 40-acres near water. In addition, the seawater has an optimal temperature of 8-9°C.

Ron Allen, Tribal Council chair/CEO of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe.

He said Salmon Evolution was “highly interested in coming back” but was also looking at other sites.

“They are talking to another property owner in Cherry Point, a large industrial complex in Bellingham, Washington, that houses a refinery operated by BP and a bulk export terminal, SSA Marine,” Allen told UCN.

Partnership with Cooke

The Jamestown S'Klallam tribe operates several businesses including shellfish grower Jamestown Seafood, and has partnered with trout farmer Cooke Aquaculture Pacific with the intention of growing steelhead (rainbow trout) and sablefish at the Port Angeles site Cooke previously used to grow Atlantic salmon.

However, Washington state’s public lands commissioner, Hilary Franz, recently issued an order banning open net pen fish farming in state waters. Although the tribe is challenging that order in court, collaborating with Salmon Evolution to create an on-land facility may be have more chance of allowing entry into finfish farming.

Salmon Evolution wants to produce 32,000 gutted weight tonnes of salmon a year at a plant in North America and is looking at sites on both the west and east coasts in the northern US and in Canada.

UCN reported that the company’s chief executive, Trond Hakon Schaug-Pettersen, wouldn’t comment on potential interest in Washington or any plans with the Jamestown S'Klallam.

He told UCN: “Because we are early in our due diligence stage, we have no additional details to share at this time.”