SalMar Aker Ocean: “We must listen to the salmon if we are to succeed”

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The future lies at in open ocean. At least for SalMar Aker Ocean. The fish farming company, which is a joint venture between SalMar and Aker, is aiming for an annual production of 150,000 tonnes of salmon by 2030 in its ambitious offshore growth plan.

Kristine Hartmann, the development director at SalMar Aker Ocean, has made no secret of the fact that it is a very resilient ambition, reaching the same production SalMar has achieved in 29 years within just ten years.

Learning wall
“It has not been like meeting a learning curve, it has been like meeting a learning wall,” she said during a speech at this year’s AquaVision, which was held in Stavanger, Norway Concert Hall.

Hartmann is part of a staff that has grown to 30 employees in a short time. She is not unfamiliar with pioneering work in technology and biology at sea, with her background from the krill company Aker BioMarine.

“We will need new sites, a new regulatory regime, we will need biological expertise – we do not know how the salmon will behave in the open sea – and we definitely need new technology,” she said.

SalMars «Ocean Farm 2». Illustration: Mariculture

In line with Gustav Witzøe and SalMar’s basic idea, the salmon must also be produced here on the salmon’s own conditions.

The boss
“The salmon is our boss, we have to listen to his needs, she said, adding that “He looks for clean water and water currents and the right temperatures – not too hot and not too cold.”

She points to the need to develop larger and more robust sea rigs, and shows an illustration of a modern wellboat next to the first ocean rig “Ocean Farm 1”, the latest generation of sea rig and Oslo City Hall.

“There are large dimensions here,” she said, adding that the new rig generation will be able to accommodate five million salmon.

“We must also develop our own boats to operate the ocean rigs,” Hartmann said.

Kristine Hartmann, SalMar Aker Ocean. Photo: Trine Forsland