Thue Holm – CTO of the company until last month and currently advisor and co-founder – shared the news today on his LinkedIn profile: there is activity again at the Atlantic Sapphire facilities in Denmark. “We are thrilled to share that the long-awaited process of tearing down the burnt buildings in Denmark has finally begun. This marks a new beginning for our site, and we are eager to explore new possibilities for the space”, he wrote.
On September 15, 2021, a fire swept through the land-based salmon producer’s facilities in Hvide Sande, Denmark. Several months later, in early April 2022, Danish police concluded that the fire did not appear to be arson and closed the investigation although they were unable to find the cause of the fire. “Investigations into the fire have now been completed, but unfortunately it has not been possible to come to any final conclusions as to how the fire originated”, said then Knud Lauridsen, police commissioner of the Central and West Jutland Police.
The fact that the cause of the fire was unclear did not help to speed things up. As Thue Holm himself told Danish media Ringkøbing Skjern Dagblade at the time, although regaining access to the land meant that demolition could begin, there was still work to be done with the insurance company to find out how much was covered. Finally, Atlantic Sapphire received $33 million in insurance indemnification in May, the demolition arrives almost a year later. Atlantic Sapphire’s co-founder, however, is optimistic about the possibilities that are now open.
“Despite the unfortunate circumstances, the site still holds immense potential with its Warehouse, workshop, Complete Smolt systems, Offices, 2000m3 buffer tank, Effluent system, and 4.2MW cooling system”, Holm wrote. “Our hope is to find a new project for this location, and the good news is that constructing RAS is cheaper in Denmark compared to Norway and many other countries. Additionally, the location boasts excellent infrastructure, skilled labor, and reliable suppliers, making it an ideal place for companies looking to develop RAS in Europe”.
In the meantime, the company continues with its Miami operation where, as reported in mid-October, it obtained less price achievement for its harvested fish than expected. A few days later, Damien Claire, Chief of Sales, and Marketing Officer clarified to WeAreAquaculture that this had not been the reason for the pause in the construction of phase 2. “We’ve always been clear that we first want to reach EBITDA break-even in phase 1 before we start with the most CAPEX-intensive parts of the phase 2 construction”, he told us.
About Atlantic Sapphire
Atlantic Sapphire is a pioneering land-raised salmon farming with a strong focus on R&D and innovation. They have been operating its innovation center in Denmark for ten years, from 2011 until the fire that harmed it in September 2021. In the United States’ facility at Homestead, Florida, they have completed Phase 1 construction. Its Phase 2 expansion will bring the total annual production capacity to 25,000 tons and has a targeted harvest volume in 2031 of 220,000 tons. Its trademark Bluehouse® enables the Company to commercially scale up production in end markets close to the consumer. Their brand is Bluehouse Salmon.