Government decision on driverless salmon farm ship renews hope for project

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Norway’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries believes that the “Eidsfjord Giant” concept meets the requirements for significant innovation, therefore clearing path to give Eidsfjord Sjøfarm a development licence (for salmon farming).

“Eidsfjord has an exciting project, which can help solve many challenges in the aquaculture industry. We believe the concept of “Eidsfjord Giant” involves significant innovation, and therefore ask the Directorate of Fisheries to take the matter further,” said Norway’s Minister of Fisheries and Seafood, Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen, in a press release on Thursday afternoon.

The driverless ship “Eidsfjord Giant” is 270m long and holds six closed containers. The offshore facility has an electric filter system that will remove all stages of sea lice. The salmon will live on board until they are between 2-2.5 kilos, and then will be moved into open ocean facilities.

Eidsfjord Sjøfarm, part of the Holmøy Group, applied for 17 development licences for the concept. Authorities had originally rejected the application from Eidsfjord Sjøfarm, due to the fact that the requirement for significant innovation had not been met.

But Eidsfjord Sjøfarm complained and now made a new decision awaits. This means that the case has been sent back to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries. The Directorate shall now assess whether the application meets the other conditions for obtaining development licences, including the condition for significant investment.

In other words, the decision does not mean that Eidsfjord Sjøfarm has been granted development licences in this regard.

“The Ministry’s decision is an important step forward, and I look forward to following the project further,” Ingebrigtsen concluded.