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World’s first ‘offshore’ aquaculture project gets green light

6 April 2016  •  Author(s): Victoria White

The Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Fisheries has approved the world’s first automated ‘exposed’ aquaculture facility to be built.


The Ocean Farming facility is a new and innovative design, developed to overcome the challenges of more traditional inshore fish farming facilities

Situated outside of Trondheim, this innovative new facility is said to introduce a paradigm shift in salmon farming and is a significant step in Norway’s efforts to deliver technical solutions to address the impending global food gap challenge.

The Ocean Farming facility is a new and innovative design, developed to overcome the challenges of more traditional inshore fish farming facilities by being located in deeper waters, further from the coast. The submerged, anchored fixed structure will float steady in the exposed ocean and is suitable for water depths of 100 to 300 meters, where the aqua biological conditions are more ideal for aquaculture on ‘the fish’s terms’. The benefits of offshore fish farms are numerous, with conditions more suited to nurturing healthy fish, such as steady currents that limit exposure to sea lice infection. The facility is fully automated with normal operation requiring a crew of just 3 – 4 people. It can also be remotely operated.

The project combines the best of existing technology and solutions from the Norwegian fish farming industry and the offshore oil and gas sector. Kongsberg is playing a key role by leveraging its position as a turnkey supplier of technology and engineering services for complex oil and gas production units, offshore vessels, fisheries and sensor systems for oceans research and environmental monitoring. In addition to technology integration Kongsbergis providing EIT engineering services, including delivery and installation of the gensets and aqualight systems.

A paradigm shift in fish farming

The project will be the first in the world to combine marine engineering, marine cybernetics and marine biology via a ‘big data’ approach fusing all the available underwater sensors and in this way offer decision support systems for the operators controlling and monitoring the feeding of the salmon and the overall physical environment of the sea.

Commenting on the new facility, Egil Haugsdal, President, Kongsberg Maritime, said: “The Ocean Farming facility introduces a paradigm shift in salmon farming now, and other fish types in the future. With greater focus on biology and nurturing healthier fish, the concept delivers significantly improved yields that will prove important in the decades to come as part of Norway’s strategy to leverage its aquaculture and offshore expertise to meet the challenges of accelerating population growth and the pressures this places on the world’s food supply chain.”

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