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Mowi ready to invest $360 million into new subsea salmon farming project

Ambitious project would be major step forward in farming technology, but is still awaiting approval from regulators.

Salmon farming giant Mowi says it plans on investing NOK 3.1 billion ($360 million/€323 million) into a new subsea farming method that will protect fish from sea lice while helping the company take advantage of optimal growing conditions, according to IntraFish sister publication Tekfisk.

Company Profile: Mowi (Marine Harvest)

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The project, dubbed Aquastorm, is under application as part of Norway's development license scheme.

The Aquastorm system raises fish at far deeper levels than conventional farms. Initially, cages will be kept 15 meters below the surface of the sea, after which they can be lowered up to 50 meters depending on environmental conditions.

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The autonomous farms will be connected to a central onshore control base, allowing for remote feeding and monitoring. Waste and feed spillover will be returned to a shore-based facility to treatment.

AquaStorm from Mowi on Vimeo.

The pilot Aquastorm project, currently slated for the Trondelag region, will be located as far as 12 kilometers from the coast, but ultimately the facilities could be established as far as 100 km offshore.

The company has applied for patents for the technology, and has worked in partnership with Nofima, Sintef, Aqualine, Kongsberg, ABB and Stellarman on the project.

There is no timeline for Norwegian regulators' decision on whether or not to award licenses for the project.

Fast facts: Norwegian aquaculture development licences

  • Development licenses are a special scheme developed for salmon and trout farming in Norway
  • The purpose is to facilitate technology that can contribute to solving challenges in aquaculture
  • Licenses are granted free of charge, but can, after certain criteria are met, be converted to ordinary licenses for NOK 10 million (€1 million/$1.2 million) per license. One license equals 780 metric tons maximum allowable biomass (MAB)
  • The Norwegian Directory of Fisheries received more than 104 applications for 898 licenses, but the majority have so far been rejected

Source: The Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries / IntraFish.no

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