Land plans for salmon future
GROWING salmon to full size in land-based facilities is yet to become a viable option, industry experts say.
Salmon industry heavyweights from around the world were in Hobart this week for the Global Salmon Conference run by the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies.
They included Atli Gregerson from the Hidden Fjord company in the Faroe Islands, Thierry Chopin, a marine biologist in Canada and Patrick Tigges from Billund Aquaculture, a Danish company specialising in land facilities.
Growing salmon solely in land-based facilities has been suggested by some environ- mental groups as a solution to the issues faced by the Tasmanian industry.
Mr Tigges said the idea remained experimental around the world with significant challenges before it could be viable.
However, Mr Tigges said there were benefits to growing smolt for longer periods on land, including lower disease risk and significant reduction in the time the fish spend at sea, up to eight months.
“We are seeing an increased demand for systems for bigger fish, simply because a slightly bigger smolt is a more robust fish,” Mr Tigges said.
Huon Aquaculture has plans to grow smolt on land with a new facility at Whale Point in Port Huon.
Mr Gregerson highlighted a need for strong biosecurity regulations and transparency.
The Faroe Islands industry had to make big changes following a collapse in the 1990s.
“Production in the Faroes was probably the worst in the world . . . we had the poorest product, we had the poorest growth . . . the highest mortality,” Mr Gregerson said.
He said the industry was now one of the world’s most sustainable with stronger biosecurity helping lift product quality and reduce mortalities.
Dr Chopin studies aquaculture where multiple species are farmed near each other. Tassal is doing this at Okehampton Bay farm, where salmon is grown alongside seaweed.