Norway's Hofseth one step closer to building enormous salmon farm inside a mountain
Tolkien's industrious dwarves in The Lord of the Rings never tried salmon farming, but if they did, perhaps their project would look a bit like the facility planned by Norwegian salmon farming company Hofseth, who wants to build a land-based flow-through salmon farm inside a Norwegian mountain.
Yes, you read that correctly - but this is not the Mines of Moria, but instead an abandoned olivine mine in Sunnylvsfjorden, Norway, where Hofseth owner and CEO Roger Hofseth wants to develop the enormous project, named World Heritage Salmon.
The projected facility would be one of the world's largest land-based salmon farms, aiming to produce up to 100,000 tonnes of salmon. The farm would consist of 15 tunnels housing the fish tanks, utilising flow-through technology, and would benefit from its own smolt facility nearby.
Some objections dropped, but concerns remain over environmental impact in Møre and Romsdal
However, World Heritage Salmon's location at Sunnylvsfjorden, close to the Geirangerfjord World Heritage Site from which the project takes its name, has met with opposition from local and state authorities in Norway.
Despite this, it has now emerged that two authorities in the permitting process, Møre & Romsdal County Council and Norway's Directorate of Water Resources and Energy (NVE), have now dropped their objections.
Local news reports say that objections remain from the State Administrator in Møre and Romsdal, particularly concerning the short and long-term environmental impacts of the project on the fjord and its surroundings.
Ambitious plans for aquaculture facility built inside tunnels
World Heritage Salmon is partnering with Artec Aqua on the design and construction of the site, and reached an agreement with Benchmark Genetics in 2021 to "exchange experience and expertise related to land-based farming, including both the project phase and the smolt and grow-out facilities’ operational phase".
According to information on the Artec Aqua website, WHS aims to become "the world's greenest aquaculture facility", incorporating circular business strategies which include processing fish sludge for energy and protein ingredients.