For six years, Mowi and Aquafarm Equipment have tested post smolt production in the semi-closed cage “Neptun” at Skånevik, Western Norway. Soon, a new release of fish is ready, and the first commercial delivery agreement will be in place.
It is the third generation of the research cage “Neptun”, which is now in use. The cage is 40 meters in diameter on the inside, and 126 meters in circumference. The cage is 22 meters deep and holds 21,000 cubic meters of water.
“Neptun” is designed to produce up to one million smolts. In October, it is ready for the sixth release of fish when 600,000 smolt will enter the cage.
“The results so far are promising. There are less lice on the fish, less algae, fewer diseases and slightly higher survival rate in the cage than what the post smolt normally has in the first six months,” said Trond Rosten, who works in Mowi’s research and development department and who heads the project in the group, to the newspaper Grannar.
He nevertheless emphasizes that there are normally small challenges in this phase also in traditional cages, but that the post smolt production in this tank is an attempt to make things even better.
Earlier this year, it became clear that the Directorate of Fisheries is not extending the R&D license to “Neptun”, which the facility has in addition to the green license. Rosten says it was disappointing not to have the R&D license extended, pointing out that the cage has not been tested at full capacity, and that a license would provide several research reports, which the entire industry would benefit from.
“We do not do this because it is just fun and interesting, but to test whether it has a viability in a commercial context,” says Rosten.
However, it has not yet been decided whether Mowi will use the technology from “Neptun” in the future, but Aquafarm Equipment CEO Egil Bergersen tells Grannar that the company has in place its first commercial agreement for the delivery of “Neptun”. However, he cannot say which customer it is.