Pure Salmon confident it will make money from land-based salmon farming

Stian Olsen

Size matters as Pure Salmon builds several land-based salmon farms around the globe.

Pure Salmon wants to build a series of farms around the world, aiming for 260,000 tonnes of salmon production annually.

Nobody has succeeded in making money on land-based farming until now, but Martin Fothergill, founder and partner of global asset management company 8F Asset Management, believes they can be one of the first to do just that.

Fothergill is on a small Norwegian tour. First stop: A lunch presentation in Oslo under the auspices of SpareBank 1 Markets. Closed to the press, but with several industry professionals present. Fothergill sat down with SalmonBusiness for a chat after the presentation where he elaborated how the company will make money on land-based salmon farming.

“I think the difference is the scaling up of the projects. We believe large scale RAS-projects, for us 10.000 tonnes plus, makes sense from an economy of scale, such that they will be economically viable, and will have good margins. Obviously, no one has done that yet, because no one has built and operated a project of that size. It’s only a few groups that are doing this in serious size. But we are very confident that it will work at those sizes,” said Fothergill to SalmonBusiness.

Martin Fothergill in conversation with SpareBank 1 Markets’ salmon analyist Tore Tønseth. PHOTO: Stian Olsen

But also knowledgeable employees are the key to making money, according to Fothergill. He says they have brought in people with experience from both salmon farming and farming in RAS facilities, as well as people with technical expertise at RAS.

“Part of the recruitment drive is to make sure we have quite a diversified team with lots of different experience that they can bring to the project,” said Fothergill.

8F was founded three years ago by along with partners Stephane Farouz and Karim Ghannam who all worked at Deutsche Bank. He told SalmonBusiness that the three looked at many different projects before landing on land-based salmon farming.

“We are an impact investing company. We looked at many different projects. One of those projects was land-based salmon farming. And over time as we looked more and more closely at it, we felt it was the most interesting and exciting project any of us had seen,” he said.

Significantly lower
Israeli RAS supplier AquaMoaf owns 50 per cent of Pure Salmon’s plant in Poland, which already produces salmon – though on a smaller scale. According to Fothergill, AquaMoaf tech will also be used on the other plants because they are satisfied with how things are running.

When SalmonBusiness spoke to AquaMoaf’s marketing director Shai Silbermann in May, he claimed that they could produce salmon on land for three dollars per kilo. Fothergill did not confirm this number SalmonBusiness, apart than it would be a low production cost per kilo.

“We haven’t publicly announced cost, but it’s significantly lower than sea-based farming,” said Fothergill.

The company has also signed a supply agreement for 10,000 tonnes of salmon a year in Japan, but several agreements are also being worked on.


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