$300 MILLION PLAN TO FARM SALMON THREE MILES OFF THE COAST OF NORWAY
A new $300 million plan to farm salmon, three miles off Norway’s rugged coast, is now in progress. 1.5 million salmon are held in a semi- submersible mass of floating nets and mesh- wire frames,220 feet high and the length of a football field. The world’s first deep sea aquaculture project, Ocean Farm 1 was designed by SalMAR ASA, one of the world’s largest and most efficient producers of farmed salmon. China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation, was paid $300 million for six of the farms, all offering more space than normal shoreline farms (large nets in sheltered waters), at the same time diffusing the fish waste and allowing them to be packed in tighter.
HOW IT WORKS
High definition cameras and oxygen sensors monitor the salmon for signs of illness and growth. SalMAR has reported that half way through Ocean Farm 1’s year- long trial run, that growth is strong and mortality rates are low.
Fish are able to live at depths of up to 180 feet, rather than grouped together near the surface, as in conventional farms, due to sixteen moveable, submerged valves, which disperse food at set times.
The first generation of salmon will be harvested by SalMAR in the second half of the year. The company says that if the trial is a success, then the establishment of open sea fish farms will be a possibility anywhere. The company says that Ocean Farm 1 is incredibly robust and can withstand devastating waves of 50 feet.
There is one drawback however: Fish packed so tightly together increases the chance of disease spreading, even if only a few get sick. According to Tim Dempster, a marine ecologist and professor of biosciences at the University of Melbourne, the fact that the salmon are forced to to stay in much deeper water, with less oxygen than normal, limits their growth.