“By combining proven technologies with our in-house design features, I believe we’re setting new standard in sustainable salmon production,” says Árni Páll Einarsson, CEO of Matorka, a company that has been farming Arctic charr at its land-based aquaculture facility in Iceland since 2010.
Iceland is uniquely suited to land-based fish farming, due to its climate and geology. Whereas the geothermal energies make it easy to optimise water temperature, good access to groundwater and inexpensive hydroelectric power support efficient and cost-effective fish farming.
Efficient, sustainable fish farming
Matorka has taken full advantage of this and designed a fish farm that is both efficient and sustainable. The facility is built up as a modular system, with each module consisting of a raceway at the top, linked to three grow-out tanks. Each tank sits 1.2 metres below the one above, allowing water to flow from one tank to the next using only the power of gravity.
“The only time we pump water is to bring it from our wells into the system. After that, everything happens naturally,” explains Einarsson.
Oxygen supports life
Oxygen provides the lifeblood for any fish farm and, at Matorka, the supply is guaranteed by AGA’s SOLVOX OxyStream system, a patented product that oxygenates the water and creates flow in the tank. The oxygenation simultaneously reduces the level of nitrogen and the total gas pressure in the water, thereby eliminating the need for external aeration.
“Every time the water passes from one tank to another, it goes through a degassing chamber where we blow out the CO2. This is where the SOLVOX OxyStream comes into play – adding the all-important oxygen and spinning the water. The current gives the tanks a self-cleaning property as all solids get spun towards the bottom drain from where they can be let out,” says Einarsson, adding that only 20 per cent of the total water is released to remove waste, while 80 per cent can be re-circulated.
World-leading aquaculture innovation
AGA is a world-leading supplier of oxygen and surrounding equipment to fish farms. From its aquaculture R&D facility, Innovation Centre for Aquaculture and Water Treatment, in Ålesund, Norway, AGA is continually developing new applications and solutions to ensure the future of sustainable aquaculture.
In 2014, a team from Matorka paid a visit to the facility in Norway to learn about AGA’s offer. Not long after, it signed up for the SOLVOX OxyStream system.
“Our choice of AGA as a supplier came down to the quality of its products but, perhaps even more importantly, its expertise,” recalls Einarsson. “Having access to AGA’s people and their knowledge of water flow and oxygenation systems has helped us enormously and we’ve taken full advantage of the engineering and design resources at AGA’s facility in Norway – both in the design of our original facility and our more recent expansion.”
Facts about Matorka
Founded Iceland in 2010, Matorka has focused on land-based aquaculture since its inception. The company currently produces 1,500 metric tonnes of Arctic charr per year but is in the process of doubling its production capacity and also extending it to include steelhead and, eventually, Atlantic salmon. Matorka’s products are primarily distributed to North America and Europe, enabling thousands of customers every day to enjoy its environmentally sound, healthy farmed fish products.