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Atlantic Sapphire restarts salmon harvest at Danish land-based farm

CEO Johan Andreassen gave the most recent updates on the company's Denmark and Florida land-based farming projects at the IntraFish Seafood Investor Forum.

Oslo-listed, land-based salmon farmer Atlantic Sapphire began harvests at its Denmark facilities last week after reporting solid biological performance across the different stages of the farming process.

Since the release of smolts for grow-out on Jan. 12, mortality has remained at under 2 percent while feed the conversion ratio outperformed forecasts, Johan Andreassen, CEO of Atlantic Sapphire, told those gathered at the IntraFish Investor Forum in London last week.

Other biological performance indicators, such as early maturation, also showed the expected results, Andreassen said.

The company is on schedule and nearing completion of the expansion works at its Denmark facilities into a grow-out operation. It expects to start producing at a pace of 2,400 metric tons a year in the second quarter of 2019.

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Meanwhile the mega-project in Florida is well underway with major improvements on the Langsand's farming model, which served to identify flaws in the production model.

One of the advancements to be added to the new location is the construction of six different water systems to reduce risk.

“In Denmark, we have all the eggs in one basket, with just one water system," Andreassen said. "In Miami we are building six different systems, reducing exposure from 100 percent to 12.5 percent."

The company has completed the construction of disposal wells and is expecting to begin stocking first eggs for smolt production in the fourth quarter of this year.

The post-smolt facility will be up and running in the third quarter of 2019, if everything goes according to plan, and a steady harvest is projected at this venue in the third quarter of 2020.

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The second phase of construction is scheduled to begin in 2022, and will consist of the construction of an additional grow-out site and a research and development (R&A) facility. By 2023, the company plans to have an annual production of 30,000 metric tons.

In addition, it will begin the third and last phase of the project in 2024, and through 2026 it plans to construct a new smolt facility, a grow-out operation and a processing and feed plant.

By 2026, it plans to have capacity to farm 90,000 metric tons of salmon a year in this location, which would be an unprecedented accomplishment in land-based salmon farming.

When selecting the location of the project, Atlantic Sapphire looked at the United States as it is the market it is targeting, and proximity to the point of sale is one of the great advantages of land-based salmon.

Ten years from now, it plans to take up a 10 percent share of the US salmon market, Andreassen said.

“This will not come from the market share currently held by Chile or Norway, but from the additional demand that we will see in the United States,” he said.

However, the location is even more strategic from a performance point of view.

“Florida provides unique and incomparable water infrastructure conditions for 'Bluehouse' production at an industrial scale,” Andreassen said at the forum.

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“It is not just about the technology; this kind of operation also requires certain natural-given conditions.”

The operation is on a unique groundwater aquifer that allows access to a sufficient supply of fresh and saline water, and at the same time has disposal wells leading to a boulder zone located 3,000 feet underneath the surface for water discharge.

Atlantic Sapphire received the first US patent for systems and methods of intensive recirculating aquaculture in July.

Based on the current business plan and amended debt facility, the company will be fully funded until it achieves a steady revenue in the US first phase facility, in 2020.

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IntraFish newest industry report gets to grips with the why, where, who and what of land-based salmon production. For more details or to order, email us here.

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