Bjørøya is a well-run, family-operated farming company, headquartered in Flatanger. Since its establishment in 1982, Bjørøya has been an active participant in and contributor to the development of the aquaculture industry. We are proud of both our long history, and the work we have done that contributes to responsible salmon farming. We have a total of 13.4 concessions distributed across 11 sites, at which our 77 employees produce approximately 16,000 tons salmon every single year. This is equivalent to 220,000 meals of salmon for every single day of the 365 days in a year.
Our values are based on seeking knowledge and innovation. We take our role as a food producer seriously, and have therefore invested in innovative and sustainable solutions. We work to minimize our climate footprint, through the optimization of both the feeding of the fish and ensuring that our ocean sites and facilities have a minimal impact on our natural surroundings. We work actively towards the development and improvement of our production methods, while also adopting new technology to create even better results. The combination of our history and experience with our passion for salmon farming enables us to provide salmon of the highest quality.
The value chain
The life cycle of farmed salmon starts when the salmon eggs are fertilized at a broodstock station. The farmed salmon of today can be traced all the way back to the 1970s, when salmon from 41 Norwegian rivers were collected for the purpose of breeding the most robust farmed salmon. Around 25 days after the salmon eggs have been fertilized, it is possible to see the eyes in the ova, which is the stage we now refer to as eyed eggs. The salmon eggs are then transported from broodstock stations to a hatchery.
Farmed salmon see the light of day in a hatchery, while the eyed eggs are hatched in tanks. During the hatching process, the eggs are stored in trays that are kept as dark as possible to ensure that the fish are not stressed. The trays contain plenty of flowing fresh water.
Once the salmon eggs are hatched, they are called Alevin fry. For the first few weeks, the fry obtain nutrition from the alevin, which works like a packed lunch. After 6-8 weeks, the alevin is exhausted and the fry have now reached a stage called parr and have become a freshwater fish. The fish are now relocated to a larger tank, where they can eat salmon feed.
After approximately ten months, the salmon go through major changes - a process called smoltification. The salmon will now develop its characteristic silvery suit, along with a tolerance for salt , which enables it to live in salt water. The fish still weighs no more than between 100 and 150 grams. All farmed salmon is vaccinated against different diseases before being released out into the ocean. This has given us a healthier fish, and today, there are almost no antibiotics used in the industry.
Farmed salmon live in large cages out in the ocean. The cage comprises a cylinder at the top and a cone at the bottom and is held up by a floating tube. To ensure that the cage retains its shape, there is a sinker tube at the bottom of the cylinder. This is what we call a pen. The pen is as long as half a football field when measured across, and at its deepest point, reaches a depth of 30 meters. Regulations allow having up to 200,000 salmon in one such pen. Of the full volume of the pen, there must be a minimum of 97.5 percent seawater and a maximum of 2.5 percent fish. Therefore, the salmon have plenty of room in the pen. The salmon live in the pens until they weigh between four and six kilograms. This takes around 12 - 15 months, and the salmon is then ready for slaughter.
Sea lice are one of the biggest challenges faced by the industry. Therefore, we invest a lot in the mitigation of lice, research and development. We take preventive measures against lice, that are also so as to create a good environment inside the pen. We use cleaner fish that eat the lice off the salmon without the salmon being affected. The lump sucker fish is an effective cleaner fish. The lump sucker fish have their own lump sucker hides in the pen, so that they have somewhere permanent that they can rest.
Once the salmon has spent 12-15 months inside the pen, it weighs approximately five kilograms and is ready for slaughter. The volume of the cage is reduced, so that the salmon swim toward the surface, and are pumped into a well boat that then goes to the slaughterhouse. The salmon are transported alive and we monitor oxygen, temperature, and behavior to ensure the welfare of the fish. When the salmon arrives at the slaughterhouse, it is euthanized, bled and cooled prior to being gutted and sorted according to quality. The final stage is placing the fish into crates of ice and sending them the market to be sold worldwide.
95 percent of the salmon produced in Norway is exported to other countries. In one year, more than 80 million salmon meals that were farmed at Bjørøya are sent out into the world. Our main product is whole, gutted, Global.G.A.P-certified, fresh salmon, chilled on ice. Since January 2022, we have started direct export sales through our own internal sales channel in Bjørøya. Direct sales are constantly evolving, and as of today our largest market is Europe, but we also sell to other markets, including a number of different airline markets such as China and the USA