Making Waves in Sustainable Salmon Farming

    "Ensuring success in Norway to be able to succeed abroad"

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    Norway-based Salmon Evolution is on its way to becoming one of the largest land-based salmon farms in the world. We recently had the opportunity to interview the company’s CEO, Trond-Håkon Schaig Pettersen, who told WeAreAquaculture about its plans to expand into North America and South Korea.

    When the company released its Q4 report, revealing the success of reaching proof of concept and the planned start of Phase 2 in Norway, Pettersen stated: “We have worked for six years to get where we are now, so you can see that things take time.” The company has achieved its set goals in terms of producing salmon on land on a large scale with good biological performance in terms of quality, mortality, and slaughter weight.

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    Picture from the first slaughter batch, credit Salmon Evolution
    Picture from the first slaughter batch, credit Salmon Evolution

    “This year marks the beginning of our full operational phase, where we aim to achieve steady-state production with 8,000 tons”

    Preparation for Phase 2 has started – this is a better copy of Phase 1 (new 8,000 tons) – they want to get started building everything this year. “I think it’s important to have a large operation in Norway before going abroad.” Through Phase 2, Salmon Evolution is essentially just doing more of the same as they have done so far.

    Showcasing the phases of the expansion, credit Salom Evolution
    Showcasing the phases of the expansion, credit Salmon Evolution

    Abroad is the future?

    Salmon Evolution plans to expand into North America and South Korea. The North American market is seen as extremely exciting, with huge potential However, Pettersen assumes that it will take a couple of years to get all the licenses to be able to build and start the planned project. They plan to start building in 2025/26.

    Salmon Evolution’s CEO is confident in the company’s ability to attract the right talent to help with their expansion plans. It has already recruited many talented individuals from the process industry, and plans to use their expertise when expanding further into South Korea and North America in the future. Since Salmon Evolution is a hybrid solution, they recruit talents from both the aquaculture and processing industry.

    Future for Salmon

    “The future brings further growth, and we see the prospects for the salmon market positively, even though it is difficult to see an increase in supply in the short to medium term. Simply because licenses are required, and they are handed out in a very limited way, as well as the regulatory pressure to produce even more sustainably in closed systems, on land or offshore”

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    Before they start moving the expertise and experience they possess to new areas, Salmon Evolution plans to ensure that the headquarters in Norway succeeds.

    “Ensuring success in Norway to be able to succeed abroad.”

    The company’s goal is to reach 100,000 tons within 10 years. The biggest challenges for Salmon Evolution going forward include the managing biological situation in parallel with ramping up production. Pettersen stated that “there is no instruction manual when you start,” but through their hybrid flow-through concept, they have shown that they provide good conditions for the fish and have good growth.

    Phase 3 of Salmon Evolutions Indre Harøy facility, credit Salmon Evolution

    Salmon Evolution is a first-mover in this scale, and their hybrid flow-through technology has been used in the smolt industry in Norway for almost 30 years. The company’s innovation is scaling up and the degree of automation, where there are very few manual processes. Other companies will come in with similar technology, but it takes a long time to get there; after all, Salmon Evolution has spent six years getting where they are now.

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