Facts about land based
sea food farming

Land based farming of seafood opens up for a paradigm shift in the sea food industry. Breakthroughs in technology and production methods enable production of salmon on an industrial scale at the same WFE costs as a well operated net pen farm. Obtaining a license for operation is less complex in many markets compared to ocean based production, while the options for location are many. The negative environmental impacts are almost eliminated. Other risk elements such as disease and import tax can be reduced with the land based model.

Various land based facilities for salmon have been in production in Scottland and Iceland in the eighties and nineties, but they have generally not been profitable. There are also some other examples in Norway and the U.S. continent for select species that has been in operation for some years with good results.  In Norway there are some 100 land based farms in operation, but mainly salmon smolt farms and smaller facilities with various species.  The biggest facility in production so far has a capacity of more than 3000 metric tons per annum for smolt. The projects in the eighties and the nineties failed due to overly ambitious strategies (batch farming) and due to immature technology and production methods for large tanks. Others have failed due to very costly infrastructure solutions. Innovation in the recent years have harnessed learning from these projects and resulted in more robust production solutions. With growing demand for fish products and costly disease problems in ocean based farming, the rational for developing a land based alternative is greater than ever.

Unique aspects of land based farming

  • Not limited to ocean based quotas and related license costs
  • Can be established in many different geographical locations close to demand markets
  • The environmental impact is reduced with regards to pollution and fish escape
  • Sludge and minerals from the water can be collected and value enhanced
  • Exposure to fish disease is greatly reduced with proper water supply, filtration systems and recirculation technologies
  • It is possible to produce fish stock with minimal use of medication
  • It is possible to achieve full control of the aquatic environment with the proper technology and knowledge
  • Effective recirculation technologies create lean and healthy fish
  • Fish escape is eliminated as a problem
  • A variety of species can be farmed

Key success factors for sustainable land based models include

  • smart technology and construction methods that limit investment scope
  • cost effective production methods
  • ability to control the aquatic environment
  • risk mitigating solutions for disease, algae, etc.
  • optimal choice of fish species
  • Scalability that allows for sufficient production volumes
  • Business case that gives attractive returns

Research has been conducted internationally on various technologies, but very few have commercially matured as truly scalable and robust solutions. Niri is the only Nordic company that has successfully tested new technologies and production concepts for salmon in recent years. Simplicity in technology and solutions have resulted in scalable concepts with comparably lower investment requirements. The technology is ready for commercial application for salmon and other species.