SINTEF, Folla Alger and Cermaq are testing new combined sea site for salmon and kelp

Folla Alger has stocked the first kelp in its new combined sea site for salmon and kelp in Steigen in Nordland, Norway. This is the world's first sea site that has been built for the combined production of both salmon and kelp, where the kelp will be grown inside the farm itself.

SINTEF, Folla Alger and Cermaq are testing new combined sea site for salmon and kelp

The sea site is designed as a traditional salmon farming facility with 24 cages, but with special solutions for growing kelp in the middle cages and salmon in the outermost cages on each side. Folla Alger collaborates with Cermaq on the salmon farming at the sea site, while SINTEF Ocean produces the first kelp delivery for the stocking at sea.

Silje Forbord, Research Manager in SINTEF Ocean, says:

"Combined operation can provide good area utilization by producing several species within the same area. This area is already set aside for salmon, and by growing kelp on the same site in addition, we hope to be able to contribute to increasing value creation. This set-up allows us to use the nutrients released by the salmon in a sensible way by producing kelp, which can in turn be used as a raw material in new feed."

"We know that we can get up to 50% better kelp growth by cultivating it together with farmed fish. Now we will also look at whether there are more advantages to combined operation."

Chairman of Folla Alger Tarald Sivertsen says:

"Fish farming and kelp farming are both industries for the future, and will be important contributors to the green shift." 

Cermaq's Production Director in Nordland Truls Hansen says:

"This is a very exciting project for us, where we can both utilize nutrients from the net pens as a resource, and we can obtain more alternative feed raw materials. It is good circular economy. In addition, the project contributes to increased local value creation and business development, which is very positive for everyone who lives and works here."

By cultivating the kelp together with fish, the kelp gets better access to nutrition, also in seasons when there are naturally less nutrient salts in the sea in general.

Some of the nutrients released from salmon net pens are water-soluble. These nutrients will fertilize the kelp and lead to increased carbon sequestration as the kelp grows. With the help of photosynthesis, the kelp utilizes the sunlight, grows and binds carbon from the sea. This is the same process that trees and plants do on land. The project will look at how salmon and kelp farming can mutually benefit each other.

The project will also look at how kelp production affects the aquatic environment in the net pens, and what effect the combined production has on the health of the fish in the cages.

Folla Alger has been granted Research and Development licenses from the Directorate of Fisheries to carry out the project. SINTEF Ocean is responsible for the research, which will be carried out in close collaboration with Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and Nord University.