73 companies are building land-based salmon farms, with potentially 1.8 million tonnes of fish on the horizon

Aslak Berge

Three countries -Norway, USA and China – are excelling in the construction plans.

The latest to the party is the Florida-based crab producer Blue Star. They recently signed an agreement to buy Taste of BC Aquafarms, a family-owned land-based salmon farm in Nanaimo on the Canadian west coast.

Taste of BC Aquafarms is the oldest operational RAS plant for food fish in North America. The company has been producing its “Little Cedar Falls” steelhead brand since 2013.

Now the ambitions are heating up, with an annual production of 100,000 tonnes. If they have the power to get funding, that is.

100,000 tonnes in annual salmon production is more than the entire current salmon production in British Columbia, by a good margin. By comparison, all of Canada, both east and west coast, will produce 142,000 tonnes of salmon by 2020.

But the project is dependent on funding. And that condition they share with a number of competing land-based salmon farmers who are now chasing money.

100,000 tonnes on land won’t be cheap. In comparison, Swedish Quality Salmon will build a facility for 110,000 tonnes in Sotenäs municipality, just north of Gothenburg. This facility has an astronomical price tag somewhere between the region of EUR 1.7 billion and EUR 1.9 billion.

73 companies
SalmonBusiness has prepared an overview of the companies that are preparing and will build land-based salmon farms. Only a handful of the 73 companies have started regular operations. Most lack sufficient local approvals and funding.

The list increases in scope, almost weekly. Now it consists of projects that, given that they are done, will be able to produce 1,762,000 tonnes of salmon annually.

In comparison, the world’s total farmed production of salmon is 2.7 million tonnes in 2020.

Three countries lead the way in this development.

Norway, which is the market leader for production of salmon in the sea, is also at the forefront of land-based. 697,600 tonnes of land-based salmon is being eyed up in Norway. On the Oslo Stock Exchange, four land-based fish farming companies have already been listed within this segment.

The United States then follows, with 411,000 tonnes. More than half of this comes from the pioneer Atlantic Sapphire, which has already begun harvesting fish just outside Miami, Florida. In addition, players including Nordic Aquafarms, Whole Oceans, Aquabounty and West Coast Salmon have announced big plans.

China also has ambitions to become self-sufficient with salmon. Projects for 289,000 tonnes of land-salmon are underway. A few smaller facilities are already operational, but most are on the drawing board. One of the most ambitious is listed Nordic Aqua Partners, which has already signed a EUR 50 million supply agreement with AKVA group.


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