The world’s largest Atlantic salmon fish farmer wants to farm fish a whole new way. Marine Harvest ASA, a Norwegian seafood company, has proposed a novel idea using containerships to create floating fish farms.
Strict Norwegian rules and regulations put in place to curtail the spread of parasites, have had a negative impact on salmon production, just when global demand for the oily fish is booming.
In response to a Norwegian government program seeking ways to solve for parasite issues and to prevent farmed fish from escaping into open waters, Marine Harvest put forth a proposal to create closed-contained floating salmon farms on retrofitted Panamax cargo ships.
Having the fish confined in the containership’s bowels will prevent any chance of stray fish getting loose and escaping into the open sea. As an added benefit, the fully contained farms will not be susceptible to the effects of algae blooms or other potentially harmful sea-borne organisms.
According to an investment analyst at an Oslo-based firm, the cost of a buying and retrofitting a used cargo ship being about $10-12M, is a fair amount less than the cost of building a conventional fish farm at sea.
And to sweeten the pot, the Norwegian government is offering winning proposals a $7.5M discount on a farming license to those can meet their tight environmental standards.