Samherji recruits former Mowi CEO to drive expansion

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Icelandic fishing and seafood giant Samherji has completed a US $26m share capital increase to fund future aquaculture expansion.

The money (equivalent to £21.3m) was raised through its aquaculture arm, Samherji Fiskeldi ehf, and will be used to build a pilot project for a land based farm in Öxarfjördur, in the north east of the country. The project will eventually lead to the existing facility doubling in size.

Samherji has also appointed former Mowi CEO Alf-Helge Aarskog to its board of directors. The company described him as one of the most experienced experts in the field of aquaculture.

It said: “Aarskog’s board participation is a significant vote of confidence for Samherji Fish Farming and its ambitious plans for land-based aquaculture. Aarskog is a very successful business executive. Until recently, he was the CEO of Mowi, the largest fish farming company globally, which produces 20% of all salmon sold worldwide.

Samherji Fish Farming is involved in all stages of aquaculture and processing, from egg production to the consumer. The company currently operates five farms and two processing plants.

The company specialises in land farming of Arctic char and salmon. Until now, Arctic char has been the majority of the production, but development is currently underway for a significant increase in the production of salmon.

Construction has begun on the expansion of land farming on the site in Öxarfjördur. Today, the facility produces 1,500 tonnes of salmon annually, but production will increase to 3,000 tonnes when the pilot project is completed.

According to current projections, fish will enter the new tanks on-site by the end of this year. The farm in Öxarfjördur has for several years been one of the world’s largest producers of salmon raised on land.

Jón Kjartan Jónsson, managing director of Samherji Fish Farming, said: “There are few people in the world who have more experience in fish farming than Alf-Helge Aarskog.

“An individual with vast knowledge and experience in international aquaculture and a large network is now joining the board to take our knowledge to the next level. This is a great recognition of Samherji’s development of land farming over the past two decades.”

Samherji is also investing US $340m (£278m) to build a 40,000 tonne land based farm on Reykjanes Peninsula on Iceland’s south west coast.

Aarskog said: “I am honoured to be asked to take part in this project. The competence of the people in Samherji around fish and land-based farming is a great foundation. The fact that Samherji has produced Atlantic salmon and Arctic char on land for a long period of time makes this the first land-based project I have looked at that I really can believe in.”

He added: “The location chosen for this project, with abundant resources of water and energy, makes the project extremely interesting. There are fascinating times ahead for Samherji Fish Farming. The company has ambitious plans and the ability to achieve them and become a leading company in salmon farming in the world. I am very excited about this project and look forward to participating in the development and growth ahead.”

Mowi’s former CEO Alf-Helge Aarskog built the company into a dynamic global food producer

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