Letter to editor: Land-based and at-sea farming not mutually exclusive
16 August 2013
Inter Aqua Advance writes to Undercurrent News in response to recent Nofima research on land-based salmon farming.
“In response to the Nofima findings on non-competitiveness of land-based salmon grow-out there have been reactions from some players in the industry involved in land-based salmon grow-out.
As the leading supplier of Recirculation Aquaculture Systems (RAS), Inter Aqua Advance A/S (IAA) would hereby like to comment on some aspects of land-based salmon grow-out in relation to conventional cage farming.
First of all, IAA is not of the opinion that RAS should replace existing cage culture, which is a good and very effective way of producing salmon. Established companies, for instance in Norway, have concessions paid for and have highly competitive production costs. To continue with this production mode will not involve large CAPEX either – so in principle Norwegian salmon farmers are competitive. Production costs seem to be higher in some other salmon farming countries or regions, for example Scotland and North America. But then Scotland is closer to European markets and can compete on lower costs of getting the product to the market. Likewise for North American companies.
However, it is a fact that land based production in RAS can be very competitive and will be able to compete with cage farms in future expansion of the salmon farming industry. It may be even cheaper in RAS when everything is taken into consideration: loss from sea lice and predation, expensive infrastructure in the form of feed barges and well boats and as mentioned before, distance from markets. It could also well be that future cage rearing will be “forced” further off-shore, which is not going to make cage rearing any cheaper.
But it is not necessarily an “either or neither” situation – there will be cases where one or the other will be the most appropriate choice depending on size of operation, location, tradition etc. In the end it will be up to the developer to decide – a business approach will or should avail.
It is also a fact that land based salmon grow-out in RAS will have a future in areas of the world that are far away from existing production regions and where sea temperatures are not suitable for cage rearing, for instance the Far East.
Inter Aqua Advance A/S is so fortunate to have a RAS concept that is very energy efficient and has low production costs. To give some indications of this, then our standard design is a 3000 tons per annum unit, which has a full turnkey price of approximately NOK 100 million. Total production cost including depreciation is NOK 21-22 per kg head on gutted weight.”
Head of Business Developments
Inter Aqua Advance A/S