‘Listening to our friends at SalMar you could get the impression that offshore aquaculture is dead in the water’

Editorial Staff

Lovundlaks-owned offshore startup expects 3 million tons of salmon to be produced offshore annually by 2050.

In November, offshore aquaculture leader SalMar Aker Ocean announced a pause on further development due to regulatory uncertainty. This setback has, however, not deterred everyone.

Lars Konrad Johnsen, business development officer at offshore salmon farming startup Utror, a company owned by producer Lovundlaks, has issued a bullish status update on the potential for offshore aquaculture.

The development of offshore aquaculture in Norway is progressing rapidly, according to the Utror exec, with preparations underway for a 2025 announcement of designated areas and a prior authorization competition.

“Listening to our friends at SalMar you could get the impression that offshore aquaculture is dead in the water,” Johnsen told attendees at the North Atlantic Seafood Forum in Bergen last week.

Offshore startup led by former SalMar CEO signs deal with oil and gas specialists Aibel

Pining for the fjords?

Johnsen emphasized the need for the Norwegian salmon industry to learn from its past, particularly from the biological challenges and stagnation period identified between 2010-2023.

“Offshore aquaculture is not dead, there is a pathway but we need to be active and work alongside the government,” he said.

The Utor exec encouraged the industry to think ambitiously, drawing on Norway’s expertise in offshore oil and gas operations to innovate in offshore salmon farming.

In line with that objective, Utror announced last week a partnership with Aibel, a leading offshore specialist construction firm. This collaboration will see Aibel lend its expertise in complex offshore installations to assist Utror’s goal of producing 15,000 tons of salmon.

The company is now seeking to actively engage with authorities to shape regulations that support profitable, efficient, and sustainable use of marine areas, Johnsen said.

Establishing industrial-scale operations from the outset and maintaining robust biosecurity across the value chain could unlock significant potential in the sector, he argued, adding that they are forecasting a total offshore production for Norway of 3 million metric tons by 2050.

The Utror team, led by former SalMar CEO Olav-Andreas Ervik and co-founded by Lars Konrad Johnsen and CFO Mathias Iversen, is a small team of 15 individuals with diverse and extensive experience in the aquaculture industry. This includes expertise in seafood equity analysis, investment banking, fish welfare, and a decade of experience in offshore aquaculture development, positioning Utror uniquely in the industry.


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