In the first half of 2019, after several years of planning and applying for permits, Nordic Aquafarms opened Norway’s first land-based fish farm to cover the full growth cycle at its Fredrikstad Seafoods facility. The company has initially stocked 100,000 smolt at the plant, aiming to produce 1,500 tons of salmon in the first run. Fully developed, the plant will be able to handle 6,000 tons of salmon a year. To achieve these goals, Nordic Aquafarms needs to ensure a steady supply of oxygen to the fish as the level of dissolved oxygen in the water is one of the most important factors governing fish health and general yield. The company turned to AGA AS, member of Linde., to deliver the oxygen so crucial to the success of this project.
First full-lifecycle on-shore aquaculture facility
Today, Norway is already home to several plants on land for smolt and post-smolt production, but this is the first facility where the salmon will spend their entire lifecycle in the same environment. “Here in Norway, we have very advanced facilities for the production of smolt and post-smolt on land,” explains Roger Fredriksen, general manager of Fredrikstad Seafoods. “We are in our first year of production, and we are looking forward to the prospect of producing salmon right up to full grow-out.”
When asked why AGA was selected to supply oxygen to the Fredrikstad Seafoods facility, Fredriksen explained that there were several reasons for this decision. “Firstly, delivery capabilities are very important, as we are dependent on a predictable, secure supply. Secondly, we know that AGA already has a high level of expertise in this area,” he notes.
Salmon matters …
The industry has been researching on-shore farming for years so in theory, the feasibility has been clearly established. However, as Fredriksen explains: “Ultimately, it is always down to simple biology. In order for us to succeed, many things need to run smoothly but salmon health is the biggest success factor of all. So we really prioritize fish welfare and put a lot of effort into ensuring an optimal growing environment.”
And that is where AGA comes in, responsible for ensuring secure, timely deliveries of oxygen. “If we run into problems, we need emergency supplies of oxygen in a matter of hours,” Fredriksen continues. Trust is essential in these cases. Fredrikstad Seafoods needs to be confident of a rapid, responsive service from AGA. “We know we can trust not only in AGA’s well-run distribution network but also in its long-standing and proven expertise in the design and delivery of oxygenation solutions for fish farming,” he concludes.
The on-shore trend
The new facility at Fredrikstad Seafoods reflects a growing trend to move fish farms onto land. One might ask why move from off-shore to on-shore in Norway, with its long coast. “The Fredrikstad location has a number of advantages,” Fredriksen points out. “We are close to the European market and central eastern Norway, and we have easy access to people with the expertise we need.” The site also has good and secure access to low-cost electrical power, which helps to create cost efficiencies. And – with water from Glomma – the plant has an ample supply of both fresh water and seawater.
Tore-Jakob Reite, head of fish farming at AGA, is proud to have contributed to the success of this project. “We know that Nordic Aquafarms has large and ambitious plans also beyond Norway’s borders, and it will be exciting to be part of this journey,” he says. In addition to the plant at Fredrikstad, Nordic Aquafarms runs a tuna plant in Denmark and is planning a plant in Maine, USA. “As fish farming on land grows in popularity, the accompanying oxygen and oxygenation technology will become increasingly important enablers of this trend,” he explains.