The first salmon from Grieg Seafood farm in Placentia Bay, in Newfoundland, Canada, was harvested and then packed at the Quinlan Brothers Ltd. processing plant in Bay de Verde last week, ready to be transported to its customers in the North American market. "Harvesting the first generation of fish in Newfoundland marks an important milestone for Grieg Seafood," said Andreas Kvame, CEO of Grieg Seafood ASA. "I am pleased to see that the fish has good welfare and that biological control has been strong".
The development of the aquaculture project at Placentia Bay began in 2014. The first generation of fish spent approximately one year at Grieg Seafood's smolt and freshwater facility in Marystown and was transferred to two ocean farms in Placentia Bay in 2022. Following last week's harvest, fish are currently being harvested from Red Island Farm.
Reared without sea lice problems, this first generation of fish harvested has a 92 percent survival rate, a good figure that the company was already targeting in its Q22023 results. According to Grieg Seafood, deep pens, no need for treatments of any form as well as transfer of best practices from similar conditions in other regions where the company operates have contributed to the good health and welfare of the fish throughout the production cycle.
"This first, successful generation shows what enormous potential Placentia Bay in Newfoundland holds for sustainable salmon farming," highlighted Andreas Kvame. "This is especially true in light of the booming North American market just next door, where consumers are increasingly asking for local, healthy and climate friendly food. We will continue to develop our production in Newfoundland gradually and responsibly during the years to come," added Grieg Seafood's CEO.
The Newfoundland-farmed salmon will be transported to the North American market without the need for air freight, which, the company noted, will make it a local, low-carbon alternative. Grieg Seafood transferred the next generation of fish to three new ocean farms in the spring and summer of 2023, so the second generation will be harvested in 2024, ten years after it all began.
"Since 2014, we have been working towards this day, when we are finally able to send salmon grown in Placentia Bay to our customers and consumers. I am pleased with the biological performance of the first generation, including the survival rate as well as strong sea lice control," stated Knut Skeidsvoll, Managing Director of Grieg Seafood Newfoundland.
Nevertheless, the success of this first harvest in Placentia Bay marks a milestone not only for the company and its possibilities in the North American market but also for the development possibilities of the region, as highlighted by Skeidsvoll himself and also by Robin Quinlan, President of Quinlan Brothers Ltd., the local processing plant where Grieg Seafood Newfoundland salmon is packaged.
"I want to thank all of my colleagues in Newfoundland for their hard work during these years, as well as the local communities of Placentia Bay and the Province of Newfoundland & Labrador for their support," said Knut Skeidsvoll. "We will keep developing our Newfoundland region step by step, and create jobs and value for the communities where we operate for years to come."
For his part, Robin Quinlan said Quinlan Brothers is "honored and excited" to partner with Grieg Seafood in what he called the next step in seafood production. "Our relationship with Grieg is based on shared commitment to sustainability, innovation, and quality," he added. Quinlan, who congratulated Grieg on the success of the growth and harvest of this first generation of fish, added that "they represent the beginning of a new opportunities for stability, employment, and growth in our region and beyond into international markets."
Owned by Grieg Seafood ASA, Grieg Seafood Newfoundland began its aquaculture project in Placentia Bay in 2014. There are currently 14 approved licenses, and it has an onshore RAS facility consisting of a hatchery, a nursery, and a smolt unit in Marystown – where a post-smolt building is already on the way - and five marine farms in Placentia Bay. Grieg Seafood aims to harvest 5,000 tons of salmon in Newfoundland by 2023.
With 70 years of business behind it, Quinlan Brothers Ltd. is a multi-species seafood processor operating plants across rural Newfoundland. At facilities in Bay de Verde, Baie Verte, and Old Perlican, Quinlan processes snow crab, cod, turbot, squid, capelin, salmon, and other species. As one of the largest seafood producers in the region, Quinlan exports multi-species products to more than 20 countries around the world.