A new land-based salmon farm, described by industry groups as among the world's largest, is raising millions of the healthy popular fish in giant warehouses about 30 miles southwest of Miami.
The subtropical location for the farmed salmon, which love cold northern waters, is unique in the world. The company, Atlantic Sapphire, pulls cold water from underground and keeps it at 59 degrees Fahrenheit in what it calls a bluehouse -- a greenhouse for fish.
Atlantic Shappire salmon RAS facility under construction in 2019 - The MIAMI BLUEHOUSETM will bring production of Atlantic salmon close to the consumer in America, ensuring a fresher and better salmon than ever before. Moreover, it removes the need for airfreight that generates large carbon footprints. The Miami Bluehouse will also bring significant amounts of jobs for Americans and tax contribution
Norwegian entrepreneur Johan Andreassen built the farm in Homestead, Fla., over the past two years, relying on a steady supply of fresh and salt water from underground aquifers, he said. That's because salmon in the wild lay eggs in freshwater rivers, and the young fish swim to salt water to grow.
Ultimately, the company wants to supply a sizable portion of the U.S. salmon market at a time when more Americans are turning to healthy fish in their diets.
Atlantic Sapphire's wants to produce 100 000 tons of fish by 2026 and 242 000 tons by 2031. That would represent almost half of current U.S. salmon consumption, but the National Fisheries Institute trade group expects salmon demand to grow rapidly.
The farm near Miami is rearing its first crop of Atlantic salmon -- the largest of all salmon species -- to reach market size, which is close to 9 pounds, according to the company. That takes about 20 months.
"12 months later our Florida born salmon are thriving and the biggest sisters are at 900 grams. In 2020 we will supply delicious Bluehouse Salmon raised in America" Atlantic Shappire twitter
The largest tanks at the fish farm can hold about 25 000 fish in about 450 000 gallons of water, more than half the volume of an Olympic-size swimming pool.
Some 3 million fish are being raised there at the beginning of this year. The average size now is a little over a pound, and the company expects to harvest them in the last half of the year.
The process involves hatching eggs in small tanks and moved to larger tanks as they grow. The biggest tanks would dwarf a large two-story house, towering over plant employees.
Once the fish are big enough for sale, a drain will be opened in the tank, whooshing away fish and water into a processing area. The fish are stunned with an electric current before they filleted for sale.
Atlantic Sapphire plans to target major retail grocery chains as customers. Most of the fish will be sold fresh, but some 20 percent will be frozen, Andreassen said. He expects the fillets to fetch a premium by persuading consumers that the farm doesn't pollute the ocean like other fish farms. Farmed salmon currently sell for about USD 10 a pound or more retail, he said.
Author: Paul Brinkmann / UPI (Read the entire article here)