“Going completely offshore, as SalMar and Aker are doing, I think is reserved for the few”

Aslak Berge
Nordlaks’ offshore farm project is facing opposition from the authorities.

Salmon farmer Nordlaks is in full flow with its second generation of fish in its first ocean farm, “Jostein Albert”. The 285 meter long steel giant is located on a coastal site in Vesterålen, Northern Norway, not unlike conventional fish farms.

“When it comes to Havfarm 2, the status is that we are not moving forward. The basic premise has been to take the industry a step further. But it does not seem that we will be allowed to do that,” admits Nordlaks owner Inge Berg.

Conflicting interests
The reason is land conflict, not least conflicting interests with fishing.

“We believe that based on sustainability and fish welfare, this will be a quantum leap,” said Berg during a seminar organized by Stiim Aquacluster in Stavanger on Tuesday.

PHOTO: Nordlaks

“The latest thing we have encountered is corals,” said Berg, and added: “There are sadly many corals threatened with extinction.”

“But going completely offshore, as SalMar and Aker are doing, I think is reserved for the few. The projects we have today are mostly limited to HS (significant wave height – editor’s note) 6-8 meters. Offshore aquaculture is up to 25 meters HS. This is a completely different matter than what we, SalMar and Arctic Offshore have done so far.

“You must bring steel and opportunities to handle the fish under those conditions. And there is no doubt that Aker and SalMar have the prerequisites to succeed. But it is extremely resource-intensive and capital-intensive,” Berg admited.

PHOTO: Nordlaks

“Havfarm 2 will be able to go against 18-20 in HS, and be in use for 80-90 per cent of the time. And when we face decades of storms, we have the opportunity to take refuge.”

However, Berg and Nordlaks have not experienced much enthusiasm for these plans from national authorities.

“The government’s reports do not go in that direction either. But as the project stands now, we do not see where it lands. Of course it’s frustrating that we can not place a boat so we can not complete it.”

Inge Berg, Nordlaks. Photo: Trine Forsland

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