Leroy, NGO launch multi-trophic farming project
Undercurrent News, 16 Aug 2013.
By Eva Tallaksen
Norwegian salmon farmer Leroy Seafood Group and an NGO have launched a new venture to start farming mussels and seaweed alongside salmon.
Through a new company called Ocean Forest, Leroy and Bellona Norway will test the concept in Norwegian fjords, Thomas Roed, sales manager at Bellona, told Undercurrent News during the Aquanor trade show in Trondheim, Norway.
Leroy and Bellona have already been trialling the farming of seaweed in Lysefjorden, and in October, Ocean Forest plans to fully launch its first farm, growing seaweed and mussels next to a salmon site in Sotra.
The advantages are potentially many and valuable. Mussels eat salmon waste, and are also thought to east sealice, said Roed. They also produce Omega-3, meaning they could also potentially be explored as potential for salmon feed. Seaweed, meanwhile, contribute to cleaning the water and could replenish seabeds in Norwegian coasts.
Studies show that seaweed grow 40% faster when located close to an aquaculture site, said Bellona’s director Frederic Hauge, in a statement.
Once set up next to a salmon cage (grown on ropes anchored to seafloor — see illustration below), mussels and seaweed also require “minimal maintenance”, said Roed.
Much still needs to be established, he added, such as the ideal distance between the mussels, seaweed and salmon cages, and how high they should be positioned in the water.
One of project’s most interesting potential will be to test if farming mussels next to a salmon farm will help reduce sealice levels, said Leroy’s CEO Henning Beltestad, in a statement.
The business model behind Ocean Forest has not been fully decided upon, said Roed, adding the venture is 50-50 owned.
However, the business does not lack ambition. Ocean Forest’s aim is to establish itself as the “world’s leading company within research of synergies between integrated solutions by 2017″, said Hauge in a statement.
In the same statement, Ocean Forest said its research results will be used to develop business models for a commercial rollout of new farming solutions on a large scale.
The farming of several species together, called integrated multi-tropic aquaculture (IMTA), is already practiced in several areas across the world, for example by Cooke Aquaculture in Canada. However, in Norway, which prides itself on its aquaculture industry, it is still a new phenomenon, said Roed.
Those who manage to solve environmental problems while producing food will be the winners, financially and morally, wrote Hauge.