Reinsnesøya, where 840-gram smolts were set out in May. Photo: Eidsfjord Sjøfarm.

Fish farmer tests the water with 840-gram smolts

There’s an increasing trend for salmon farmers to set out ever-larger smolts, but few will have taken the practice as far as Eidsfjord Sjøfarm.

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Eidsfjord CEO Roger Simonsen and production manager Rolf-Arne Reinholdtsen both agree that huge smolts are the way forward and are excited about how the 840-gram smolts will survive in the next few months. Photo: Eidsfjord Sjøfarm.

The Norwegian company has set out its biggest smolts ever, weighing a mighty 840 grams, which will considerably shorten the production time at sea. The fish Eidsfjord Sjøfarm set out at the beginning of this month can be harvested before the end of the year.

The company, together with smolt supplier Sisomar, has had a conscious strategy to shorten the time its salmon spend in the sea.

Chief executive Roger Simonsen said that Eidsfjord recently set out the salmon at its Reinsnesøya site, located in Sortlandsundet in Sortland municipality.

The location of Reinsnesøya, located in Sortlandsundet in the municipality of Sortland, where Eidsfjord Sjøfarm has set out smolts of over 800 grams. Photo: Eidsfjord Sjøfarm.

"We have put out 100,000 salmon of up to 840 grams. We have done that in a single cage," he said.


Simonsen says he doesn’t know any other farmers who have set out such big smolts before, and thinks this will be an exciting time for the company.

“This is the first time we’ve set out smolts this big and it is something new for us. So, it was a historic day for us in Eidsfjord Sjøfarm. There will be some trial and error in the future, but we are looking forward to it.”

Production manager Rolf-Arne Reinholdtsen added that it's a milestone for the company to set out such big smolts.

"These smolts can take our production to a whole new level and is another way to grow the fish. We have previously put out 400-gram smolts and have had good experiences with them, and are looking forward to experiencing more about large-smolt in-sea production.”

Good transfer

He pointed out that everything indicates that this will be a good production cycle, and that transfer of the fish to the cage had gone very well.

“The fish we received from Sisomar were excellent and of good quality. We were very excited about how the transfer from the facility would go, as the smolts were so big. The challenge is to get the fish safely from the facility to the boat and in the cages. But it has exceeded all expectations. We were a bit nervous with regards to unloading, and pumping the fish, but it went very well and the fish ate feed right away.”

The wellboat Novatrans took care of the transport of 840-grams smolts delivered to Eidsfjord Sjøfarm. Here you see loading at Sisomar. Photo: Sisomar.

When the company set out the fish, it chose to do it in two low-density rounds to ensure that the fish did not stress, therefore reducing the risk of mortality.

Conscious strategy

Eidfjord Sjøfarm, together with smolt producer Sisomar, has for several years had a conscious strategy to increase the size of the smolts and shorten the production time in the sea.

“This is a clear commitment we have made with Sisomar, who have created a large-smolt division at their facility. They have come a long way with the production of large-scale smolt and do a great job of delivering bigger and bigger smolts of good quality to us,” said Simonsen, adding that the companies are now seeing the results of the good effort that has been put in over several years.

Reinholdtsen states that they are looking for a production period of 6-8 months, which indicates that the fish that were released on May 1 will be ready for harvest at the end of 2018. 

Eidsfjord, which produces about 15,000 tonnes of salmon annually, is one of the owners of Sisomar.