90,000-tonne land-based salmon farm planned for Lewis

render of a fish farm embedded in a mountain, with a boat alongside

A Norwegian salmon company is hoping to build a 90,000-tonne land-based fish farm in a remote part of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides.

The story was broken this week by local paper the Stornoway Gazette, which was tipped off following a presentation for investors.

The company concerned, Norwegian Mountain Salmon (NMS), already has plans underway for a flow-through site on the Norwegian island of Utsira (pictured, above) and it is believed that the Lewis farm would use the same technology.

NMS Chief executive Bård Hjelmen has said the project is at “a very early stage”, adding that “very tight co-operation with local inhabitants” will be essential for both sites.

The Lewis site is at Mealista, an uninhabited estate on the west coast of the island. The proposed farm is believed to involve 224 fish tanks, using filtered water pumped from deep levels of the ocean in order to minmise the risk of pathogens.

The Gazette reports that the project could create up to 200 jobs and involve investment of more than £581m.

The NMS website says, describing its Utsira project: “Over several years, NMS has developed a concept for land-based flow-through facilities in mountain halls that will provide production efficiency and optimal fish health. In addition, such underground facilities will minimize the visual footprint and preserve the beautiful coastline we have in Norway.”

The Utsira farm will be dug into the mountain and use water pumped from a depth of 50 metres. The flow-through technology will use less energy than a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS), the company says, and will also require less energy, while it will also be more secure than traditional net-pen farming.

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