Have you ever heard of farming salmon in a ship? That is exactly the project underway at Harstad, Norway-based NSK Ship Design, which is building massive salmon farms on sea for Nordlaks, a global processor of Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout.
Soon after the Minister of Fisheries Elisabeth Aspaker and the Norwegian government announced concessions for aquaculture businesses willing to make larger investments into new technology, executives from NSK Ship Design told Nordlaks about the Havfarm (“Ocean Farm”) ships they were designing.
“Nordlaks is focused on creating sustainable solutions for its own production. For them, it isn’t just about increased volume and getting control of the louse problem, but also the well-being of the salmon and sustainable solutions,” said NSK Sales Manager Thomas Myhre.
The project aims to virtually eliminate the sea lice problem in salmon, thanks to steel louse skirts, a massive pen that spans 472,000 square meters and manual removal of sea lice, if it occurs. “This also provides a totally chemical-free production. The use of chemicals to remove lice has been a much-debated environmental issue, and has been a major expense for the industry as well. This will change the direction of the aquaculture industry, which has been struggling due to such issues,” Myhre said.
NSKI has begun designing the three ships, which span 430 meters in length and 54 meters wide and carry a price tag of NOK 600 (EUR 63.6 milion) to 700 million (EUR 74 milion) each. When completed, the ships that are anchored to the ocean floor will be the largest in the world.
One Havfarm will be able to contain 10,000 tons of salmon, or more than two million fish. The ocean farm itself will extend ten meters below sea level. The farm will be constructed as a steel frame for six “cages”, measuring 50 by 50 meters on the surface, with aquaculture nets going to a depth of 60 meters.
If Nordlaks is provided with concessions from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, NSK can have the first ship built in 2017, according to Myhre.
By Christine Blank, SeafoodSource contributing editor
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