A plan to convert a conventional offshore drilling platform into a fish farm has been given conditional approval by Norway’s Ministry of Trade and Industry.
The project – known as the Octopus Concept – is the brainchild of Stavanger-based offshore services company Roxel Aqua and involves a modified jack-up rig fitted with between 12 to 14 cages for breeding salmon and trout.
The cages encircle the rig and can be pulled down below the sea surface using specially designed winches.
The Directorate of Fisheries had originally rejected the application from Roxel Aqua, due to the requirement for “significant innovation” not being met.
Norway’s Seafood and Fisheries Minister Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen said, however: “Roxel Aqua has a new, innovative and future-oriented concept.
“In our view, this means significant innovation, but it is also our assessment that parts of the concept are not as well documented as they should have been.
“It is therefore a prerequisite that Roxel Aqua documents, among other things within the next six months, that the concept can be operated in exposed weather areas.”
Roxel Aqua now has until September to fulfil the conditions in the ministry’s decision. If they fail to do so, the Fisheries Directorate will assess whether the application fulfils other conditions for obtaining development permits, such as whether it involves significant investment.
Ingebrigtsen added: “The ministry’s decision is an important step forward, and I look forward to following the project further.”
Describing the project last year, Roxel’s managing director Dag Meling said its rigs were more stable than floating platforms. He said: “The beauty of our system is that it doesn’t destroy the asset. Such a modular system makes it easy to reverse the conversions.”