Atlantic Sapphire will be cost leaders for salmon in the US market.
“We produce fish locally in Denmark and Florida, but in reality, we are transforming the way you produce protein globally. We call it Bluehouse Technology,” said Atlantic Sapphire founder and CEO Johan Andreassen.
So far, the company has produced salmon on land in Denmark, which has not been a gold mine.
“We have made many mistakes and learned a lot. And we say we will not make the same mistake twice,” he assured.
The main focus is the gigantic facility that is now being built up outside Miami in Florida. This has a production capacity of 90,000 tonnes distributed over three construction phases.
“About 98 per cent of farmed salmon consumed in the United States are imported. The market potential is enormous. We share Alf-Helge Aarskog and Mowi’s view that the US salmon consumption can be doubled,” said Andreassen.
“To fly in salmon, you have to burn five kilos of CO2, and you also reduce its shelf life, This problem we have solutions for,” he added.
First and foremost, the company is fully integrated.
“In Florida, we have everything under one roof. We can harvest the fish on Monday and have it in New York on Tuesday – by lorry. Or in California by Wednesday,” he added.
“Water is the most important. The water is the plant’s blood. Both for intake water and for getting rid of the waste,” he added. “It’s almost too good to be true. In Florida, the soil layer looks almost like a sandwich. Different layers of water are separated by stone and clay. So when you drill into the ground, you’ll find both freshwater and brackish water. The water is 10,000 years old and disease-free. There is a huge natural sand filter – for free,” explained Andreassen.
“We are building the first step now, at 10,000 tonnes. The next step is 20,000 tonnes, and then 60,000 tonnes will follow. It also reduces the risk,” he said, before adding: “It’s a huge building. It’s hard to figure out how big it is at 35,000m2. And this is just the first phase. We’ll do this ten times bigger.”
“Norwegian salmon costs NOK 53-54 (EUR 5.4-5.5) to deliver to the United States. We think we can deliver fish to the NOK 36 (EUR 3.6) per kilo. So we expect to be a cost leader here,” said Andreassen.
In the plant in Denmark, about one million fish are swimming today. They have an average weight of just under one kilogram.
The first fish are also in place in Florida.
“As we speak, we have 1.15 million fry swimming in Florida. I have never personally seen clearer water. We call it the Bahamas water. We will later this year, for the summer, transfer post-smolt to salt water. We expect to have an estimated 1,000 tonnes of biomass in mind towards the end of the year,” he concluded.