Aqua Maof group’s AMG Norway is building the world’s largest indoor salmon aquaculture facility in Canada for Grieg NL, which is investing $200 million in the project.
The Newfoundland and Labrador fish farming project should produce 33,000 tons of Atlantic salmon a year, and will be followed by seven large-scale indoor fish farming facilities around the world. Grieg also said that 70 percent of future projects would be dedicated to salmon, as it seeks to build its position in the market with large scale, efficient production.
New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador were the second-largest producers of salmon in the country, with a combined farm-gate value of almost $300 million, according to government statistics. Farmed salmon is Canada’s third-largest seafood export by value.
Salmon prices have climbed this year as a large algal bloom killed some 27 million fish by March, with sea lice in Norway also affecting stocks. The US is to continue seeing rising demand this year, according to the FAO. Canada exported 91,000 tonnes to the country, worth $595 million, according to the UN body.
Grieg also has fish farming operations in the Isle of Skye, Scotland and Norway.
Private equity interest in aquaculture seemed to rise this summer as California-based AGR Partners announced it was looking for salmon farming opportunities in Chile.
There are few farmed salmon markets around the world – Chile, Norway, Canada and Scotland – so the sector is lucrative but dominated by listed companies such as Marine Harvest, a Norwegian company owned by Norway’s richest man, Olav Thon. It holds a 21 percent share of the farmer salmon market, according to various estimates.
Last year Brazilian private equity firm Aqua Capital acquired tilapia producer GeneSeas, while Paine & Partners exited its seafood fishing and processing business Icicle Holdings.