n recent years, we have seen the deployment of advanced underwater technology at fish farms. We have seen supply boats being used as support vessels. And we have seen a substantial portion of the shipbuilding industry’s activity switch to the construction of installations for the aquaculture sector. Where previously they built specialised vessels for operation in North Sea oil fields, they are now building wellboats for fish farming companies.
Increasingly stringent environmental requirements for the production of farmed salmon are a driver for innovation and new technology. The market is crying out for more salmon. The Norwegian aquaculture sector has seen scarcely any volume growth in the past five years.
If the aquaculture industry is to grow in the way envisaged by both the sector itself and the government, new production methods must be developed. There is a strong focus on sustainability, fish health and environmental impact.
Hauge Aqua and Marine Harvest’s ‘Egg’ concept is a striking example of cross-boundary collaboration between the maritime, offshore and marine sectors, whose purpose is to meet the challenges posed by sea lice and fish escapes.
The ‘Egg’ is a closed-containment fish farm shaped like an egg. It is 44 m high and 33 m wide, and can contain upwards of 1,000 tonnes of salmon. If all goes to plan, a pilot version of the ‘Egg’ will go into operation in Sognefjord next year.
Hauge Aqua, which has developed the technology, has used expertise from a large number of different fields in its work. These include shipbuilding, subsea, feeding, composites and biology.
This spring, a networking event was arranged for businesses engaged in the offshore supply industry. The event was organised by the NCE Seafood Innovation cluster and the GCE Subsea cluster, along with Deloitte and Hordaland County Council.
The big question was how quickly the subsea industry could reorient itself and start supplying the aquaculture sector. 13 of the companies attending the meeting said that they already had solutions which the aquaculture industry could benefit greatly from.
Collaboration between marine clusters is becoming increasingly strong, not least in Bergen. The aim is to boost inter-sectoral partnerships, remove barriers and make even better use of the expertise our region possesses.
In 2013, each full-time equivalent engaged in the production of farmed salmon and trout generated an average of NOK 3.5 million in value creation. The corresponding figure for agriculture was NOK 360,000.
Norway’s territorial waters extend over more than 1,979,179 km². This includes the economic zone around mainland Norway and the fishing zones around Jan Mayen and Svalbard. This is an area five times larger than the Norwegian landmass.