Over-reliance on imported salmon is prompting South Korea to explore the potential for land-based salmon farming in its own backyard.
On Tuesday, July 20, the construction of a 7,800-sqm land-based salmon “test bed” began in Busan, a port city with 3.4 million people.
The pilot farm is situated in the Institute of Fisheries Sciences at Pukyong National University in Busan. When completed in the first half of 2023, it would be capable of farming some 500 tons of Atlantic salmon per year, reported Aju Business Daily.
“Starting with the smart aquaculture test bed, we hope to directly produce Atlantic salmon that have relied on imports so far, contributing to the sustainable growth of the domestic fisheries industry,” an executive of the water purification and circulation systems provider, GS Engineering and Construction, told the publication.
The company co-owns the project along with South Korean retail giant Shinsegae.
The project aligns with the South Korean government’s goal of expanding the capacity of local salmon farms by investing a total of US$1.2 billion until 2027. In October 2021, the the government unveiled a project to build three aquaculture clusters by 2024, one of them in Busan, the report added.
South Korea’s salmon imports have quadrupled since 2009 as Koreans dined out more and their diet became more “westernized,” according to the Korea Maritime Institute. In 2021, the country imported about 60,000 tons of Atlantic salmon, mainly from Norway.