Quarter of a million salmon die at Atlantic Sapphire’s Danish RAS facility

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Nitrogen levels spiked causing mass mortality. Pushes next harvest opportunity four months back.

According to a statement posted on the Oslo Stock Exchange Sunday by land-based salmon farmer Atlantic Sapphire, it lost 227,000 fish at its commercial pilot facility Danish Bluehouse the day before.

“Preliminary analysis, subject to further verification over the next days, indicates higher nitrogen levels than desired as the cause of the event, which has been addressed in design modification,” the company wrote. It added that it did not know what caused the nitrogen levels to spike.

It said that other portions and systems of the pilot farm were unaffected “due to the segregation design to have various independent systems”.

The RAS salmon farmer wrote that the mass mortality will push the nest harvest opportunity out to about four months and that it is “still assessing the complete financial impact of the event”.

The Danish Bluehouse, located in the small village of Hvide Sande, Denmark, was built in 2011. PHOTO: Aslak Berge

It was still optimistic the tech despite the huge loss. “This incident demonstrates the importance and challenges of finishing commissioning of all BluehouseTM systems while already in operation as well as the value of having multiple independent systems for biological risk diversification reasons. At the same time, the Company’s strategy to have its Danish pilot farm as R&D facility proves immensely valuable in testing designs and identifying issues in this first and largest ever land-based, RAS salmon farm in the world”.

“Upon completion of the US Phase 1 facility this year, with the expected annual output of 10,000 tons (HOG) salmon per year, Atlantic Sapphire will have a total of six independent grow-out systems in the US alone, limiting the risk of any systemic contamination to only about 15% of total output,” it added.

SalmonBusiness has asked Atlantic Sapphire what size fish were lost.