Denied at home, salmon players look abroad

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Belgian facility supplier Enprotech and Norwegian distribution outfit, Norsk Sjomat, have found the right regulatory environment or local partners to begin pursuing their commercial aims.

Enprotech, a self-described water-treatment company, and a local Norwegian partner are understood to have sought a concession to build a land-based facility on the island of Hannumaras near Kautkeino in Norway’s northernmost country, Finnmark. Newspaper Altaposten reports that a 40- to 60- hectare facility employing 200 staff is planned for the inland facility some 2,900 kilometers away from the Belgian town of Rotseelaar, where Enprotech’s Web page says its headquarters lies.

“This could be a pioneering project. We know that sea-based aquaculture is often discussed in relation to sea lice, escape and medicine use. This is a good alternative,” the mayor of Hannumaras, Johan Vasara, was quoted by Altaposten as saying.

Deep-pocketed Norsk Sjomat is another outfit seeking fortune in aquaculture abroad. After being denied the four development permits it sought from the Norwegian Fisheries Ministry, the company is looking at continental Europe for opportunity.

“Poland, Denmark or other countries are possibilities. Norway, sadly, doesn’t look like it wants to allow this type of enterprise,” manger Per Magne Grondahl told newspaper Sunnmoringen.

Grondahl had plans to convert an old furniture factory in a largely vacant industrial area in Stordal, about 50 kilometres east of shipping town Aalesund, into a smolt nursery. Exasperated, he admitted to being baffled by his country’s bureaucracy.

“In Stordal, great industrial locations are vacant, while we want to invest between 600 million and 700 million kroner (EUR 61.6 million and EUR 71.8 million) related to aquaculture enterprise in the region,” he told the newspaper, adding that his company’s plans would not affect the local environment.

Grondahl had intended to raise smolt to 400 grams or 500 g on land before moving them into newly developed seawater pens at Stordal and Stranda, a nearby village where the company processes 17,000 tonnes of salmon annually.