Preparations for smolt release has progressed according to plan during the first quarter and subsequent months, and the Norwegia company Andfjord Salmon plans to release smolt in its first pool at Kvalnes, Andøya, June 2022. It is important to note that this pool is a large flow-through pond below sea level. According to the company, this location would significantly reduce the energy required to pump seawater to the facility.
“Our entire set-up is based on an idea of recreating the salmon’s natural habitat on land. We have applied this philosophy when planning the smolt release too. Smolt release in late June coincides with the wild salmon’s migration period here at Andøya. Further, an increasing amount of natural light and period with rising temperatures is good for fish health and development. This is why June has been chosen for smolt release,” says Martin Rasmussen, CEO of Andfjord Salmon.
During the past few months, Andfjord Salmon’s first pool, with its unique flow-through technology, has been operational 24/7, as if smolt were already released in the pool. The company has conducted a continuous and complete technical and organisational simulation during this period, to make sure that all technology, equipment and personnel are well prepared for smolt release.
All biological sensors are installed and the cleaning robots have been extensively tested. Back-up systems and solutions have been subject to comprehensive testing. The line for receipt and delivery of fish is also in place.
“Our objective is to create the most sustainable and fish-friendly facility of its kind. A meticulous approach towards ensuring the best possible biological conditions for the salmon is, in our view, key to achieve this goal. I am pleased to say that everything has gone according to plan during our extensive preparations,” says Martin Rasmussen.
A NOK 50 million loan
Blasting and excavation work for the next pools (Phase 2) at Kvalnes has progressed well during the past few months. The pools closest to the first pool are being excavated first.
Last year Andfjord Salmon announced a revised plan to increase production volume by approximately 50 percent at Kvalnes, from 12,600 (Phase 1 and 2) to 19,000 tonnes (Phase 3) HOG, through purchase of an adjacent land area at Kvalnes.
Andfjord Salmon has recently secured a NOK 50 million loan from Sparebank 1 Nord Norge to help finance the early initiation of Phase 3 at Kvalnes and the continued build-out of Phase 2 at Kvalnes.
Establishing more similar land-based fish farming facilities
Andfjord Salmon has secured land and land rights to two other areas at Andøya, called Breivik and Fiskenes. The intention is to establish similar land-based fish farming facilities at both sites, targeting a production of 25,000 tonnes HOG at each site.
Approval of the zoning plans for the two sites are key steps towards realising these ambitions. Andøy municipality is managing the zoning plan process.
“We are highly dedicated to local job and value creation when we develop and operate our facilities. We want to achieve this by embracing the local environmental conditions that are unique to Andøya and Andfjord Salmon, simply because we believe this provides us and our fish with a competitive advantage nationally and internationally,” says Martin Rasmussen.
Still not yet generated revenues
Andfjord Salmon is currently developing its first land-based salmon farming facility, which means that the company does not yet generate revenues.
The company had an operating loss of NOK 9.9 million in this year’s first quarter, compared to a loss of NOK 7.2 million in the same quarter last year. The change is mainly related to ramp up of operations in preparation for release of first smolt.
At the end of the first quarter 2022, Andfjord Salmon held cash and deposits of NOK 18.9 million. This figure does not include the new bank loan of NOK 50 million, a NOK 20 million undrawn credit facility or NOK 5 million in available grants.