Bakkafrost builds world’s largest smolt farm

17 May 2017
Bakkafrost

The world's largest smolt farm is taking shape in Klaksvík

Faroese salmon company Bakkafrost is currently constructing the world’s largest smolt farm, which is expected to be completed by in the second half of next year.

This 600-700m krónur investment (between €80 and 95 million) will increase productivity by minimising the risk of salmon lice and other diseases. It is also expected to create an additional 15 jobs.

“We are building the new smolt farm in order to increase the size of the smolt. Currently, the smolt weighs about 120g. The aim is to produce smolt with an average weight of 500g,” said Leif av Reyni, fresh water manager at Bakkafrost.

“We want to shorten the production time at sea by approximately six months. By keeping the smolt in a controlled environment for longer, the risk of disease and sea lice will be greatly reduced.”

After being transferred from the smolt farm on land to the sea, a young salmon of 120g will grow for a year and a half before reaching 6-6.5 kg, the ideal market weight. By increasing the average smolt weight to 500g, the salmon will only spend between 9-12 months at sea according to Leif av Reyni.

“The generational interval is thus shortened by 30%, which makes it possible to increase the overall production,” he said.

The company hopes to produce 14 million smolt annually. The new farm, which is located in Klaksvík, the second largest city in the Faroe Islands, will span an area of 21.000m2. The building will be 320 metres long, the length of more than three football pitches.

The water used to farm the smolt will be almost entirely reusable, with the company expecting to recycle an average of 99.7%.

“About 60-70% of the concrete construction has already been completed. The first third of the building is expected to be completely finished in November,” Leif av Reyni said.

Bakkafrost is the largest fish farming company, as well as one of the biggest private employers in the Faroe Islands.