Initially rejected, Norway’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries now believes that the concrete-framed floating fish farm “ØyMerd” meets the requirement for significant innovation.
“ØyMerd is a well-documented concept, which solves many tasks better than today’s commercial facilities. We believe the project involves significant innovation. That’s why we are sending the application for development licence back to the Directorate of Fisheries for further processing,” said Minister of Fisheries and Seafood Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen in a press release.
Development licences were a time-limited scheme from 2015 to 2017. The purpose was to grant licence to projects that contribute to significant innovation in the aquaculture industry and involve large investments.
Astafjord Ocean Salmon, which is owned by Kleiva Fiskefarm and Gratanglaks, applied for eight development licences for “ØyMerd”, which translates as “Island Cage”. The concept consists of three giant cages with a concrete frame, gathered into a triangle with 132m long sides. The technology is sourced from the offshore industry, and the goal is to operate aquaculture in more exposed locations. The offshore construction will be built by engineering and construction services company Kværner and the technology company Bemlotek, before being towed north to Harstad, Northern Norway.
The Directorate of Fisheries initially believed the concept did not meet the innovation requirements and rejected the application. But the company appealed the decision to the Ministry, and the complaint has now been dealt with.
The Ministry believes that the condition for significant innovation has been met. The case will therefore go back to the Directorate of Fisheries, which will, among other things, decide whether the condition of significant investments have been fulfilled.
If this condition is also met, the Directorate will start work assessing how many licences should be granted.
“We are clearly very pleased with the news, it is a demanding work that is behind it all and the Ministry’s decision confirms “Øymerd” as a concept, which we strongly believe can become an important part of the future aquaculture industry,” said Kleiva Fiskefarm/Astafjord Ocean Salmon Managing Director Marius Arvesen to SalmonBusiness.
But he added that it depends on the number of licenses given, to see if the “Øymerd” can be carried out.