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Billund Aquakultur Service facilities. (Photo Credit: Billund Aquakultur Service)

Freshwater salmon to grow in the Gobi desert

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Monday, August 26, 2013, 02:50 (GMT + 9)

For the first time ever five-kilo freshwater salmon will be bred in the Gobi desert starting this year.

Billund Aquakultur Service, a high-tech company with plants in most parts of the world -- from Russian sturgeon farms to Danish eel centres -- is the company behind the modern miracle.

The Gobi desert gets no more than 50 and 100 mililitres of rain every year. Yet, Billund Aquakultur has defied the odds by saying it will be able to artificially grow freshwater salmon there.

So far, 5-kilo freshwater salmon has only been bred in recirculating plants as a test. These plants are revolutionary because they recycle water using only 1 per cent of the amount of water required to breed salmon in a conventional counterflow plant and the resultant mud and polluted water are then used to fertilize sandy soil.

However, the downside of this method is the high volume of energy consumed, therefore Billund Aquakultur is very focused on minimising energy consumption.

The new plant is expected to be ready in October-November this year and, after the first Norwegian salmon roe arrives, a production of 1,000 tonnes of salmon per year is predicted.

At first Billund Aquakultur Service's customer, a state-owned water supply firm pumping water from a 100-metre-deep bore hole, suggested the new plat should be larger but the firm disagreed because they initially wanted to start up on a small scale.

Nevertheless, the company has plans to expand tenfold in five years’ time.

The Chinese believe that aquaculture plays a key part towards attaining sustainability regarding fresh water salmon since this fish is of a higher quality than their wild counterparts.
“We’ve had our share of adventures, and we hope this one has a happy ending as well,” remarked happily Billund’s CEO Bjarne Hald Olsen, with Billund’s Executive Chairman, Christian Sørensen echoing:

“We are convinced that we have the necessary knowhow and the right concept, although to date, fresh water salmon of this size have only been bred in a recirculation plant as part of testing.”

By Gabriela Raffaele


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