SalMar gets eight development licences for giant “Smart Fish Farm”

Stian Olsen

MariCulture, 51-per cent-owned by SalMar, has got eight development licenses for its huge offshore enclosed salmon grow-out.

In June last year, Norway’s Directorate of Fisheries considered that the concept “Smart Fish Farm” (SFF) fell within development permits scheme and proceeded to process the application with the aim of allocating one or more development licences.

Though later that year in November, the Directorate of Fisheries partially rejected SalMar’s application. 16 licenses were originally applied for in March 2017, but the Directorate continued with the processing of the application upwards limited to eight permits.

The Directorate of Fisheries has now decided that Mariculture will receive eight development licenses for the concept. SalMar owns 51 per-cent of shares in MariCulture, and the salmon farmer has informed the Directorate of Fisheries that they will not be complaining about the partial refusal.

“The Directorate of Fisheries has given MariCulture a commitment on eight licences of 780 tonnes of maximum permitted biomass. They are granted with a duration of five years from the site is cleared and the licence document is issued,” wrote the Directorate of Fisheries on Friday, which concluded that the concept could be realisable and would qualify for the “significant innovation” conditions.

“Smart Fish Farm” will dwarf the gigantic “Ocean Farm 1”, the full 110m structure which is already operating at sea. “Ocean Farm” was built to house 1.5 million salmon and cost EUR 72 million. To compare, SFF will be 160m wide and will accommodate three million salmon. The project costs a staggering EUR 154 million.

SFF will be established in the sea along Central Norway’s Trøndelag coast.