Icelandic waters have many opportunities for salmon farming, but in some areas the water is too cold for an efficient and safe production, and there is a limited availability of licenses for sea-based fish production. Luckily, there are many great locations on land, with access to clean seawater at a favorable temperature for salmon farming, all year round. Fish farmers are now directing their attention to land-based production.
Self-sufficient in smolt-supply
AKVA group will build a new Smolt RAS facility in Vestmannaeyjar, the most southern community in Iceland. Only one of the islands in this archipelago – the main island Heimaey, is inhabited. For a small community of only 4.500 people, the fish farming plant is a welcome addition – creating jobs and increased activity in the area.
“This is an exciting project because it makes us self-sufficient in smolt-supply for our coming land-based Grow-out project, thereby giving us the full control of our own value chain”, says Lárus Sigurður Ásgeirsson, Chairman of the board of I.L.F.S.
An old volcano
“Vestmannaeyjar is one of the most unique groups of islands I have ever visited. The Heimaey island is actually an old volcano which last erupted in 1973, destroying most of the city there. Fortunately, the whole population was safely evacuated to the mainland of Iceland. After this life-changing event, only half of the original population came back”, says Line Topp Olsen, Sales Engineer in AKVA group. She visited the beautiful islands in the summer of 2022.
Heimaey is an ideal location for land-based Grow-out of salmon due to access to land, infrastructure, great logistics to markets, and strong community support – with human resources from the fishing- and processing industry of Heimaey backing the project. The lava sand of Heimaey is a natural filter, providing crystal clear seawater, where all pathogens are removed before the water enters the fish farm. The warm water is also at an ideal temperature, facilitating a sustainable production.
“Our goal is to produce superior quality salmon in the most sustainable environment possible,” says Ásgeirsson.
Excited about Zero Water Concept
AKVA group has had a great pre-project collaboration with I.L.F.S. before signing the contract.
“We chose AKVA group because of their track record and experienced people”, says Ásgeirsson.
“Also, we were excited about AKVA group`s “Zero Water Concept”. It allows us to build a RAS facility on an island with limited access to fresh water”, Ásgeirsson explains.
I.L.F.S.’s markets are Europe and North America. When the Smolt RAS and the Grow-out project in Vestmannaeyjar has been completed, the plan is to produce 10.000 tons of Atlantic Salmon a year in the first phase of production. During the second phase, they aim to double this amount.