A visit to Ocean Farm 1. Back row from left: SalMar chief strategy officer Runar Sivertsen; chief executive Frode Arntsen; and chairman Gustav Witzøe. Centre: SSF head of sustainability and development Anne Anderson (blue jacket), Scottish Government Marine Directorate head of aquaculture development Jill Barber (red and black life jacket); Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon (yellow sleeves). Front from left: Annabel Turpie, Marine Scotland director; SSF managing director Jim Gallagher; Malcolm Pentland, depute director (community & economy), Marine Directorate.

Scottish aquaculture minister visits Ocean Farm 1

Gougeon shown huge potential for fish farming on trip to Norway


Scotland’s Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon has been seeing the latest innovations in Norwegian aquaculture during a tour of cutting-edge farm developments hosted by SalMar, co-owner of Scottish Sea Farms.

On Monday, ahead of the opening of the world’s biggest aquaculture trade show Aqua Nor in Trondheim today, the minister’s fact-finding mission included a visit to the world’s largest single fish farming installation, Ocean Farm 1.

Pioneered by SalMar, the semi-submersible offshore farm measures 110 metres in diameter with a total height of over 50 metres and is designed to hold up to 1.6 million salmon.

Ocean Farm 1 has been in operation off the coast of Norway since 2017, and has successfully completed two production cycles, the lessons from which are now helping inform the next generation design.

10,000-tonne farm

En route to Ocean Farm 1, Gougeon – whose ministerial responsibilities include aquaculture - was also shown one of SalMar’s open net pen farms which, while similar in approach to many Scottish farms, is equipped with 15 x 160-metre-circumference pens and is capable of producing nearly 10,000 tonnes of fish – three times the biomass currently permitted in Scotland.

Gougeon, who will officially open the Scottish Pavilion at aqua Nor today, said: “I am pleased to have had the opportunity to see Ocean Farm 1 first-hand. Innovation is vital to support our ambitions for a sustainable aquaculture industry and supply chain in Scotland, as set out in our recently published Vision for Sustainable Aquaculture.

“The Scottish Pavilion at Aqua Nor showcases the innovation, technology and research of Scottish aquaculture to an international audience. Supported and funded by the Scottish Government, the Pavilion will create economic opportunities for the sector, including Scottish small and medium-sized businesses.

“Scotland’s aquaculture sector is a significant contributor to our economy, generating approximately £885 million gross value added and an estimated 11,700 jobs while producing healthy and nutritious products.”

Norway is our way

Scottish Sea Farms managing director Jim Gallagher, who accompanied Gougeon alongside SSF sustainability and development chief Anne Anderson and SalMar executives, said the Scottish sector is keen to mirror Norway’s innovative ways of working, improved efficiencies and enhanced green credentials.

“When it comes to discussing the potential for the sustainable growth and development of the Scottish farmed salmon sector, where better to come than Norway, the global leader, with the opportunity to see the latest innovations in practice,” said Gallagher.

“Ocean Farm 1, which has proven itself to be a worthy addition to traditional farming, illustrates the potential offered by more exposed sites.

“Meanwhile, at the open net pen farm, the depth and tidal flows are very similar to those in Scotland but with more space and capacity permitted, improving water exchange, fish health, and, in turn, security of supply.

“It fits well with our own drive to modernise and consolidate farms into fewer locations but with larger pens. Being able to see these kinds of advances in best practice really is the best way to build up knowledge and we’re immensely grateful to Ms Gougeon for her time and interest.”

Following the farm visits Gougeon was also given a tour of SalMar’s state-of-the-art processing plant in Frøya for an insight into the advances being made towards a circular economy, with 100% recovery of by-products to produce fish oil and fishmeal for animal feed.