Offshore farming joint venture for SalMar and Aker

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SalMar has entered into a strategic partnership with Aker to establish a global offshore fish farming company.

The new jointly owned company, SalMar Aker Ocean, will conduct fish farming at sea, both in weather-exposed areas and far out to sea.

Aker is a major construction conglomerate, engaged in offshore industry, subsea technology, and carbon capture amongst a host of other enterprises.

By combining Aker and SalMar’s industry knowledge and leading expertise in salmon farming, industrial software and environmental technology, the aim is to create the ‘world’s most reliable and intelligent offshore farming business, with the highest requirements for fish welfare and an ambition for zero emissions for the entire value chain.’

“SalMar’s investment in sea-based farming marked the start of a new era in the seafood industry. We are very pleased to enter into this collaboration with a strong industrial partner such as Aker. Together, we will lead the development and ensure sustainable growth on salmon conditions. We will utilize the ocean’s potential to produce healthy food, use digital technology and environmental technology, and together with the unique supplier industry ensure long-term and sustainable food production. Together we can take the next technological leap for aquaculture, and we have a global ambition,” said Gustav Witzøe, CEO of SalMar, in a press release.

Read also: SalMar result far below expectations:”We underestimated the market”

SalMar and Aker – through their wholly owned subsidiary Aker Capital – will eventually own 66.6 per cent and 33.4 per cent of SalMar Aker Ocean, respectively. SalMar’s current interests in sea-based farming will be part of the new company. In three tranches, Aker will contribute up to NOK 1.65 billion (€159 million) in cash contributions.

Continues and strengthens SalMar’s sea commitment
SalMar Aker Ocean will continue its work with testing, learning, research and development of offshore aquaculture activities, including through the world’s first functioning sea fish farming facility, “Ocean Farm 1”, and the technology in the innovative sea cage concept Smart Fish Farm. These will be placed first in Norwegian waters, and eventually internationally. Norway is today at the forefront and world leader in the development of aquaculture technology. “Ocean Farm 1” and Smart Fish Farm have both been developed in a unique interdisciplinary partnership between SalMar, which has more than 30 years of experience in aquaculture, and world-leading Norwegian players in aquaculture, offshore and research and development.

Olav Andreas Ervik will lead the company as CEO and the board will consist of six members, including Gustav Witzøe, Atle Eide, Kjell Inge Røkke and Øyvind Eriksen.

The new offshore technology opens up large new areas for salmon farming, where salmon will grow under optimal biological conditions. SalMar Aker Ocean will continue to develop this technology to ensure production on salmon conditions, meet the highest requirements for fish welfare, and minimize the environmental footprint.

A new and even more sustainable era
“The aquaculture industry is facing a new, and even more sustainable era, and opens up for the use of a new resource base with green production,” said Øyvind Eriksen, CEO of Aker.

Øyvind Eriksen. PHOTO: Fredrik Norman/Aker Solutions

“The new company combines Aker’s industrial track record in offshore operations with SalMar’s history as one of the world’s largest and most efficient producers of salmon. We also share a vision for the potential that lies in using industrial software, data and analysis. We believe that together we can take the next step in the development of aquaculture, by using technology and our common industrial capabilities to safeguard the sea, fish welfare and promote sustainable growth.”

So far, 10,000 tonnes of salmon have been produced on “Ocean Farm 1” over two production cycles. This is a full-scale pilot plant based on world-leading Norwegian technology in aquaculture and offshore. The two production cycles have shown strong biological results and have provided valuable insights that form the basis for further development. The design and operation of the pilot, combined with Aker’s leading engineering knowledge, offshore operations and assembly capabilities, gives SalMar Aker Ocean a unique position in the next phase of the development of aquaculture on a global scale.

To further accelerate growth, the parties will immediately launch a project to develop a next-generation semi-offshore unit, with a view to reaching an investment decision for a new production unit as soon as possible.

Norway first, then internationally
Based on the experience of “Ocean Farm 1”, SalMar Ocean has developed the Smart Fish Farm technology, with an ambition to build a series of units for salmon farming at sea. SalMar Aker Ocean will continue this work to streamline and digitize construction and operating processes, and will apply for approval for locations and offshore licenses, initially in the Norwegian economic zone.

SalMar Aker Ocean’s ambition is to become a world-leading company with a global presence. The company will basically focus on establishing