This salmon is the first farmed off the Portuguese coast

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Large Portuguese supermarket chain Jerónimo Martins is testing offshore salmon farming.

The chain, which has more than 3,600 stores in Scotland, Portugal and Colombia, has established its subsidiary SeaCulture in connection with the fish farming project. The University of Aveiro, considered one of the best in the country, also participates in the project through the CESAM R&D unit.

An earlier version of the cage. PHOTO: Universidade de Aveiro (with permission)

The 1,000 salmon pilot farm is located about 11 nautical miles outside the town of Ílhavo in the district of Aveiro, on the northwestern coast of Portugal.

The CEO of Jerónimo Martins, Soares dos Santos, commented on the project during a quarterly presentation last month. There he said there was both good and bad news, according to Noticias ao Minuto newspaper.

“The good news is that salmon is growing in the Portuguese sea,” he said, continuing:

“The bad news is that we have not found the right cage, which can handle high waves and bad weather,” he added.

However, he emphasised that they are working on adjustments so that the cage will also cope with challenging weather conditions.

However, according to Professor Ricardo Calado from the University of Aveiro, who is part of the research group, there has been no problem with the high temperatures in the water.

When he spoke to Ipacuicultura in October last year, he said that the smolts were placed in the sea at a time when the temperature was ideal for growth, so that the production time at sea was shortened. He also claimed that there was interest in the project from both local and Norwegian investors.

When Rádio Renascença mentioned the project in 2018, another university professor, Amadeu Soares, stated that they did not have the advantage of fjords ideal for salmon farming and that it was challenging with aquaculture in Portugal.

An earlier version of the cage. PHOTO: Universidade de Aveiro (with permission)