World’s largest land-based salmon farmer: ‘The best is ahead of us’

Editorial Staff

“The need for resource-efficient production of animal proteins will only increase in the years to come,” says land-based salmon CEO.

Norwegian land-based producer Salmon Evolution has announced in its 2023 annual report a major milestone with the harvest of approximately 1,900 metric tons, 1,100 of which were harvested in the fourth quarter alone.

This achievement positions the company as the world’s largest land-based salmon farmer.

In the company’s annual report, published on Wednesday, CEO Trond Håkon Schaug-Pettersen wrote, “In 2023, Salmon Evolution cemented its position as the global leader within land-based salmon farming.”

Salmon Evolution reported an operating loss of NOK -131 million (£10 million) for 2023, primarily due to investments in increasing its biomass. The standing biomass of the company grew from 733 tons live weight at the end of 2022 to 2,204 tonnes by the end of 2023. Over the same period, net growth in biomass rose from 1,087 tonnes live weight in 2022 to more than 3,700 tons in 2023.

Trond Håkon Schaug-Pettersen. PHOTO: Salmon Evolution

“As the industry leader we have also demonstrated that it is possible to produce salmon on land all the way to harvest weight, at an industrial scale and with strong biological performance.”

The report emphasizes biological performance, aiming for low mortality rates and high product quality. The company stresses the importance of human capital as crucial to its success, noting that it has now grown to around 70 employees. “We have been very fortunate in being able to recruit and retain highly skilled employees with a strong passion for their work,” said Schaug-Pettersen.

Looking ahead, the CEO expressed optimism about the long-term demand for salmon. “The need for resource-efficient production of animal proteins will only increase in the years to come,” said Schaug-Pettersen.

“There are significant challenges growing the supply side using conventional methods, from both a biological and regulatory perspective. Thus, the opportunity to sustainably produce salmon on land at an industrial scale is greater than ever.”

The Salmon Evolution CEO also noted the relative competitiveness of land-based farming has reached parity with conventional methods, citing control and optimization opportunities within land-based facilities.

As Salmon Evolution moves into 2024, the company is focusing on phase 2 as it seeks to scale operations. “Having a large and successful operation at Indre Harøy will be a key enabler in our international expansion,” the CEO emphasized.

The company continues to integrate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) aspects into its business strategy, with ongoing improvements in ESG reporting highlighted in the annual report.

Concluding, Schaug-Pettersen expressed gratitude for the support from stakeholders and customers, stating, “Being able to now supply our beautiful salmon to customers worldwide on a regular basis shows that we have come a long way since our foundation back in 2017.” He remains confident in the company’s future, “The Salmon Evolution journey has just begun and we are confident that the best is ahead of us.”


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