Cermaq has announced that it is building a new smolt plant in Hasvik, Norway. The company has shared some details, including a scheduled completion date of 2026 and a design focused on ensuring fish health. Moreover, this facility will be able to produce 12 million smolts per year.
This would be the first smolt plant Cermaq is building in western Finnmark and is expected to create at least 24 new jobs in Hasvik municipality. Moreover, it will also secure the existing jobs and businesses in Nordland and Finnmark.
This project was put on hold pending the Norwegian government's final proposal on the salmon tax last fall. Even though there is uncertainty now, the company has decided to go forward with the onshore smolt plant.
Nevertheless, the company also made it clear that it is not sticking 100% to its initial project but has reduced the scale of the project. As Ellekjær explained, despite the needs the company has to cover, "the framework conditions in the future are uncertain."
"The uncertainty surrounding the effect of the chosen tax model and tax level will affect the level of investment, particularly related to growth. However, the current operations face a significant bottleneck in the supply of smolt for existing production. When the land plant is completed, we will be able to cover today's need for smolt, but that does not consider any increase in production," said Knut Ellekjær, CEO of Cermaq Norge.
The planned Hasvik facility in Sørøya will be dedicated to post-smolt. Therefore, this facility will focus on collecting the salmon at the stage when they return from the sea, having undergone physical changes that make them bigger and more resistant.
Hence, Cermaq's particular focus will be on technology. Firstly, in the technology related to biosecurity and fish welfare because this will significantly reduce the potential for disease. Secondly, on the one that is for improving the environmental impact, because they want that one to be the most energy-efficient in the company.
"Larger hatchery fish is good for both fish health and fish welfare because it becomes significantly more resistant. In addition, it will manage with one winter in the sea instead of two. This means fewer dewormings and less stress, which will be very positive for fish health," said Snorre Jonassen, project owner for the new plant in Hasvik.
Cermaq Norway is one of Norway's largest food producers supplying salmon to more than 30 countries worldwide. With approximately 500 employees, all of its production takes place north of the Arctic Circle. The company has 4 freshwater facilities and a total of 43 marine facilities along the coast of Nordland and Finnmark. They also have an observation center, the Arctic Salmon Center, located at Skutvik in Hamarøy. Cermaq Norway is part of the Cermaq Group, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corporation.