Cod farming project moves ahead at pace

Norcod's farming operation is in the cold waters of Norway's west coast, north of Trondheim (photo: Norcod)

THE fish farming company Norcod is moving ahead this month with plans to become the world’s largest producer of farmed cod.

It has recently transferred around 200,000 fry to its base and released them into cages, and said they are in excellent condition.

The first load of 123,000 fry have an average weight of 140 grammes. The average weight of the second load of 75,000 fry was somewhat higher, at 215 grammes, the Trondheim based company said in a press release.

Norcod said its fish fry were released at Finnangerøya, about 100 miles north of Trondheim, in two different cages, and will be produced to the highest sustainability standards.

It already has two state-of-the-art facilities in operation, with ambitious plans for another eight for start-up over the next few years.

The fish will be farmed in its natural cold water habitat on Norway’s west coast. Norcod said it aims to supply what it believes is a strong market for fresh cod on a year round basis.

Managing director Rune Eriksen explained that after the fry transfer, the fish immediately began swimming in shoals in the surface of the cages and went directly after the feed and seemed to thrive.

‘This was a very important day, both for us and for the industry,’ he added.

He also said Norcod plans to harvest the fish in June next year, but this could be accelerated if the cod continues the same exponential growth rate it has achieved during the breeding phase.

In the past two months, the business has successfully raised new investment, totalling 105 million kroner (around £8 million) to help fund what looks to be a ground-breaking project.

It plans to use the net proceeds to invest in access to juveniles and the build-up of biomass.

In terms of biomass, the company said it has privileged access to sixth generation fry bred for optimal health and yield.

At a time when wild cod catches are restricted by tight quota limits, Norcod said: ‘We aim to supply the strong market for fresh cod year round, amid growing demand globally for sustainably produced, healthy protein.’

The next stage in its plan will be to post a full 1.5 million cod fry in its other farm in Frøya municipality, closer to its home base.