CULTIVATING warm water king prawns close to the Arctic would have appeared an impossible dream only a few years ago, but now a Norwegian company is planning to do just that.
Based in Stavanger, the curiously named Happy Prawn Company is working on a scheme to launch Norway’s first commercial land based farm capable of breeding the sort of large king prawns which are normally cultivated in far warmer sub-tropical climates.
Businessman and Happy Prawn Co general manager Magnar Hansen told the website Tekfisk.no that he was currently preparing a business plan and was looking at three possible locations in Norway where waste heat was available.
Warm water was necessary to successfully breed king prawns, so it was important to be close to an area where waste heat was available.
He also said he has attracted a lot of interest in the project from potential investors, both inside and outside the aquaculture industry.
And the project, at least in its experimental stage, appears to have had the nod from Norway’s Directorate of Fisheries.
It appears that one of Hansen’s hobbies has been keeping tropical aquariums and the idea probably stemmed from that. He is also the owner of tropical snakes and turtles.
Hansen says on his company website that the Happy Prawn project is ‘for those who dare to think outside the box’.
He adds: ‘We do not use any antibiotics or any other medicines and our philosophy is one of sustainable healthy farming.’
Using a 12,000 litre tank filled with seawater, the company has been running a small pilot plant producing fresh king prawns for the past eight months, the results of which have proved promising.
Hansen said his goal was to have produced 100 tonnes before the end of next year. In the longer term he is also looking at setting up a farm outside Norway.
And a potential market for the first Happy Prawn products? ‘Basically, we are looking at serious players in the top level restaurant and hotel industry,’ his website added.