China to build huge structures for open-sea salmon farms in Norway

In order to move aquaculture from sheltered fjords to rough, open seas, Norwegian salmon farmer Nordlaks has signed a deal with a Chinese shipyard to build huge floating structures that can hold up to 2 million salmon each.

Stable enough to withstand 10-m-high waves, the Havfarm ("ocean farm") will be built by shipbuilder CIMC Raffles, located in the port city of Yentai, which has one of the world’s largest dry docks.

Nordlaks founder Inge Berg called the deal a "major milestone" for the Norwegian aquaculture industry. Nordlaks hopes to stock the first Havfarm in spring of 2020.

According to aquaculture website Undercurrent News, the agreement covers two Havfarms. One will be in open sea south-west of Hadseloya, an area that up until now has been impossible to use for aquaculture.

Most Norwegian fish farms are located in fjords. The idea is to create a structure that is stable enough to withstand ocean conditions, including 10-m-high waves, and which could be relocated from time to time.

The farm was designed by Norway’s NSK Ship Design. The original plan was to build a 430m unit, which NSK says would have been the longest ship in the world.

The advantage of ocean cultivation is that there would be 27 times more sea volume to absorb pollution from the farm, and "sea louse skirts" would reduce the parasitic infections that commonly affect traditional fish farms.

Image: The 385m Havfarms were designed by NSK Ship Design of Norway (NSK)

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