The new facility has a government concession to produce 24 million fry per year and is due to produce its first batch of fry in autumn 2022. Work began at the site this week.
“The renewed focus on cod farming is tremendous. Given the improvements made in breeding and production methods, cod farming now has a much better starting point for profitable production than in the past. Land-based industry also has an important contribution to make by providing more stable access to raw materials. It opens new possibilities for year-round employment locally in the districts, which is especially important to keep people from moving away. This is a great day and a great investment in cod farming. I fully support all those who are making it happen,” said Norway’s Fisheries and Seafood minister, Odd Emil Ingebritsen, at the official ground-breaking ceremony.
Havlandet has 20 years’ experience in land-based breeding and production of cod fry, but only a few years ago had no buyers for the product. They continued their programme only out of optimism that the market would one day return. With Norcod’s arrival the wind has changed and access to sufficient cod fry for large-scale farming has become more of a challenge.
Havlandet is currently spawning its 7th generation of cod, and says that it has been able to significantly improve the breeding characteristics and genetics. Investing in a new fry facility is intended to secure predictable fry supply for both companies in the future, while also having capacity to increase sales to other market players.
“This is a key milestone for Havlandet. We started cod breeding back in 2000 and, thanks to the enthusiasm and dedication of our team, made great progress both in terms of growth rate and health of the fish. If everything goes to plan, we also want to build a land-based production facility for juveniles and food fish. We’re really happy to be working with Norcod on this first phase of a bigger expansion at Fjord Base and are proud to be supporting them in breathing new life into the business of cod farming,” said Havlandet managing director Halvard Hovland.
Norcod aims to be the world’s first industrial-scale producer of responsibly farmed cod as a source of healthy sustainable protein. Its sea farms are located in mid-Norway with ideal water conditions for the production of premium-quality fish. The company was listed on Oslo’s Euronext Growth market in 2020 and is committed to blue ocean value creation with minimal impact on the environment while supporting local communities.
“Building this brand-new fry facility is an important step for Norcod on our journey towards achieving harvest volumes of 25,000 metric tonnes of fresh farmed cod in the coming years. It also cements our collaboration with Havlandet as a strong platform for the future,” said chair of the Norcod board Marit Solberg.
Norcod CEO Christian Riber added: “For cod farming to be successful it is crucial to start with the best possible fish biology and highest quality fry. This new facility will provide the best possible starting point for our production cycles. We’re already close to our first commercial harvest this autumn and our entire team is looking forward to generating revenue. We have robust arrangements in place with buyers in our target markets who are eagerly awaiting our premium product – delicious fresh farmed cod available year-round.”
Also attending the ceremony at Fjord Base were representatives of Sparebank Sogn & Fjordane, which is co-financing the new fry facility, as well as municipal and county officials.