Norwegian cod farmer Norcod has started its first commercial harvest. Chief Executive Christian Riber hailed the initial harvest as a “huge milestone” for the Trondheim-based company following an intensive four-year effort to start production from the fish farming venture in the North Atlantic.
Norcod expects to produce more than 5,000 tonnes of cod under a continuous harvest between now and February.
Riber said: “We have had to start harvesting the fish a bit earlier than planned due to great biological performance. The fish are in fantastic condition and initial deliveries earlier this month have yielded highly positive customer feedback.”
“The majority of the harvest volumes have been sold well above budgeted levels. As customers come to further appreciate Norcod and its many advantages it is expected that this price will increase. The market is looking very promising for the coming months,” he added.
Norcod’s aims to become the world’s first producer of high-quality farmed cod on an industrial scale from its three farm sites in mid-Norway.
These fish were harvested from the first batch of juvenile cod that was transferred from growth tanks into the sea in January last year.
The next batch of 2.4 million fish was transferred to the sea earlier this summer and is set to be harvested in the third quarter of 2022 towards a current annual production target of 9000mt, which is expected to increase to 25,000mt by 2025.
A further batch of juveniles is scheduled to go into the sea phase in spring 2022 after they start their growth phase in December this year.
Riber said: “This schedule puts us on track to increase production significantly over the next few years. Both the high quality and volume of fish produced so far gives us confidence that we can exceed our sales ambition by meeting market demand,”
Norcod has already secured buyers in advance for the fish as part of its marketing strategy to provide customers with stable year-round deliveries, compared with seasonal wild cod, through its exclusive marketing company Sirena Group.
Norcod says its farmed cod is differentiated in price as the fish have an 8% higher yield than wild-caught cod and provide a thicker, meatier fillet.
Whole fish are initially being marketed in Spain, Scandinavia and the UK, with value-added cod fillets destined for France, Germany and the US.