Food & Beverage

Dec 31, 2015

The Aquaculture Revolution

Norwegian salmon producer Nordlaks has applied to build three new revolutionary marine farming vessels, which are projected to become operative by 2017. If the project is realized, it will be the world's longest ship.

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"Together with Nordlaks, NSK Ship Design in Harstad has designed what could be the start of a sustainable revolution in the aquaculture industry," the company said in a statement.

Work on the project started in June 2015 at NSK Ship Design. On the drawing board lies a 430-meter long and 54-meter wide ship — also called Havfarm (sea farm). In comparison, the world's biggest cruise ship is 360 meter long, and the world's longest aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise, is 342 meter long.

It will be moored to be able to turn with tides, winds and other weather-related challenges, anchored in the sea bed with tech solutions from the offshore industry. The intention is to move the aquaculture industry from the fjords out to the sea.

Each Havfarm will have capacity for 10,000 metric tons of salmon – more than two million fish. The vessels will withstand 10-meter high waves, the companies said, and can be raised four meters in stormy weather. The actual sea farm will lie 10 meters below the sea's surface.

The construction will be like a steel frame for six cages that measure 50 times 50 meters in sea surface area, with 60-meter deep marine farm nets.

Chemical-free production

"Before Inge Berg from Nordlaks got in touch, we had previously flirted with the idea of making bigger constructions from scratch," Thomas Myhre, sales manager at NSK, said.

"Berg showed up with a very well thought through idea on how it could be possible to move away from fish farm cages to fish farm ships in the open sea."

Sealice would be a thing of the past due to 10-meter deep lice skirts of steel.

When the Havfarm is moored so that it can turn with tides/wave direction, the spread area for waste substances will be 27 times that of regular cages, a whole 472,000 square meters.

To the extent that lice do appear on salmon, the vessel is constructed in such a way to allow the manual removal of lice, and subsequently this means that production is entirely chemical-free.

From concept to application

Fisheries Minister Elisabeth Aspaker has advertised free production licenses to producers looking to make major investments in new technology in order to overcome the industry's challenges: the environment and sea acreage.

Soon after the announcement Berg gave notice that Nordlaks had major plans in answer to Aspaker's initiative, more precisely the Havfarms.

Nordlaks is now in full swing with the application process. Each of the three vessels would cost between €65.2 million and €76 million.

"We're hoping we can put this technology to use in 2017, if we are granted the development licenses to do this," said Berg in the press release.

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