A giant salmon farm will produce 10,000 tons a year

And if soon we could eat Salmon born, raised and transformed in France, in a place near Bordeaux? It is in any case the promise of Pure Salmon who signed on April 4 a temporary occupation agreement (for 49 years) of a 14-hectare plot of land in the Verdon port terminal, owned by the Grand Maritime Port of Bordeaux (GPMB). “Among what attracted us a lot, the environmentally friendly concept, the short circuits and the production relocated to France,” says Philippe Renier, head of the GPMB’s Department of Nautical Access and Sustainable Development.

The aquaculture farm project is planned on 14 hectares on the site of the Verdon-sur-mer port terminal. – Mr. Trentacosta / GPMB

“We plan to produce 10,000 tons of salmon, which represents 5% of French consumption,” announces Xavier Govare, president of the company Pure Salmon France. 99% of French consumption of Atlantic salmon (200,000 tons per year) is imported, in particular from Norway and Chile. Today there is an aquaculture farm in Cherbourg, Normandy, but much smaller in size, producing 80 tonnes per year. This large-scale project has an investment of 275 million euros and promises 250 direct jobs and as many indirect ones. Construction of the buildings will begin in early 2023 and the first salmon should be marketed in 2026.

Two-thirds of jobs in process

The port of Bordeaux offered a turnkey site to the industrialist Pure Salmon. By purging it of administrative procedures, in particular the establishment of compensation measures for protected species, the port saves the group about two years of procedures, which can be resolved in an accelerated manner. From 2024, the first batches of eggs will be received and laid at the Gironde hatchery. Of the 14 hectares of the Pure Salmon site, 75,000 m2 will be dedicated to the production

Atlantic salmon are raised for two years, the first year in the hatchery to raise it until it weighs 150 grams and the second year in salt water where it will reach between four and five kilos. “The eggs come from Iceland because they are believed to have the best fish genetics,” says the president of Pure Salmon. . “Half of this production will be used for sale raw (steaks and fillets) and the other half transformed into smoked salmon,” explains Xavier Govare. A smoking workshop will be installed on the site and three quarters of the jobs will be linked to this transformation activity.

Confined fish and biosecurity

The salmon ponds will be supplied by a brackish water table 50 meters deep, fed by the sea, “without use and without competition with drinking water”, stresses Xavier Govare. The water will be treated in a closed circuit using a technology called “recirculating aquaculture system” (RAS). “The company is the owner because it bought a branch of Veolia specialized in aquaculture (Kruger Kaldnes)”, specifies the president of Pure Salmon France.

For “perfect biosecurity”, the fish are raised indoors to avoid contamination, particularly from migratory birds. “The advantage of agriculture on land is that it limits discharges into the sea, the sea drags certain pollutants and predators, it is not a preserved environment,” says Xavier Govare. All the effluents will be treated by an ultra-efficient treatment plant to discharge “virtually potable” water into the environment, he adds. The salmon will paddle in water at a constant temperature (10 to 12 degrees) with the same level of oxygen and the same PH.

The industrial port area of ​​Verdon, at the entrance to the Gironde estuary, offers the advantage of river supply and the possibility of using the photovoltaic park installed near the area that Pure Salmon will occupy. A public consultation will be implemented before construction can begin on the site.

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