Billund Aquaculture: “We have a more conservative view of the speed of an upcoming land-based grow out market”

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According to Billund Aquaculture, some companies overestimating how fast the development of land-based plants will go. The company believes that it will take much longer before the explosive growth really hits as hard as several others believe.

“We do not believe that in the next 5–8 years 7-800,000 tonnes of salmon will be grown in grow out as some estimate. We can’t see it going so fast. We believe the growth will be high, but not at all to this level. We have a more conservative view on the speed of an upcoming land-based grow-out market,” says Steffen Busk Jespersen, CEO of Billund Aquaculture.

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Billund Aquaculture instead reckons that the industry will grow by 150,000 tonnes of salmon during the next 5-8 years. The reason why the company considers some in the industry to be over-optimistic is that they believe that each process takes quite a lot of time.

“It takes two to three years for environmental approvals. There is also an establishment phase of a few years, and a production start. So quite realistic, if you look at tons of output, it is not possible to reach that many tons in that time range,” says Steffen Busk Jespersen in an interview at the head office in Billund.

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With the players on the market now the company has a hard time seeing the grow out market move so rapid.

What does the rest of the industry estimate?
“Some estimate 700,000-800,000-900,000 tonnes. We think they are very optimistic. Of course, such growth would be great. We also see that several of our customers are afraid it will cannibalize the existing market. Billund Aquaculture currently sees it solely as a supplement,” says Christian Sørensen, founder and chairman of Billund Aquaculture.

According to the company, it depends on the customers how fast the expansion will go. If their customer is not experienced with land-based fish farming it is far more challenging to teach them how to operate the technology.

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However, the company has no doubt that the RAS market will change entirely when more choose to establish land-based plants.

“We have several producers who are seriously looking at grow out. There is no doubt that in the long run, grow out will completely change the dynamics of the RAS market,” concludes Christian Sørensen.