October 5, 2021


Columbi Salmon to build RAS salmon farm in Belgium


Columbi Salmon chief executive officer Anders Hagen said his company is proceeding with its plan to build an recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) Atlantic salmon farm in Belgium.


A recent kr162 million (US$18.6 million) funding round by Columbi Salmon has confirmed an ongoing interest by some of Norway's biggest seafood backers in RAS-based salmon farming.


Amongst others, the shares drew the interest of Broodstock Capital owner Ferd, the majority shareholder in SalMar and Insula owner Kverva Finans, and the company's founders, the Refsnes family, which remains the largest Columbi Salmon shareholder with 43% of total shares.


Kverva's involvement strengthens a collaboration between the Witzøe and Refsnes families, following SalMar's purchase of 45% of the shares in Refsnes Laks. Norwegian billionaire Gustav Witzøe, who owns Kverva, is the principal owner and CEO of SalMar.  


In total, Columbi Salmon has raised kr482 million (US$55.4 million) over the past nine months.


"We're very proud to have some of the world's leading private aquaculture investors as our owners," Hagen said in a news release.


Columbi Salmon's aim is to become the European Union's leading sustainable onshore salmon farming company. The first part of its plan entails building and operating a land-based salmon farm in Ostende, Belgium, followed by the construction of further production facilities throughout Europe.


Columbi entered into an agreement with Billund Aquaculture in late 2020 for the development of its farming system. The Ostende RAS farm will produce between 12,000 tonnes and 15,000 tonnes of salmon each year, with vegetables and lettuce grown on the fish sludge and water used in the production process.


"Our experiments indicate that salmon production can become carbon-neutral, since the plants bind up carbon from fish production, through both water and air," said Hagen.


According to Hagen, Ostende was chosen as the site of the Belgian facility in large part as 25% of global salmon consumption takes place within nine hours of driving time from the farm. The proximity is good for both delivering the freshest product possible and for reducing environmental impact as it will result in minimised emissions from transportation and maximised fish shelf-life.


"The facility in Ostend will be the world's most-advanced, safe and sustainable RAS farm. Hence, our production will be both profitable, with low emissions and good animal welfare," Hagen added.

- SeafoodSource