NEFCO and Salmela-Yhtiöt to invest in ecological fish farming in Latvia

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By Milthon Lujan

NEFCO and the Finnish company Salmela-Yhtiöt Oy have agreed to invest in the Latvian company Blue Circle SIA to start ecological fish farming near Riga in Latvia. Through this investment, the financing partners seek to establish a new way to grow fish in an ecological way and close to the consumer in order to meet the demands related to population growth, scarce water resources and an ever increasing need for protein production. The concept will also support circular economy and will minimise the need for transportation.

Blue Circle’s new production facility will use new, environmentally friendly technology for fish farming on land, developed and patented by Clewer Oy, a subsidiary of Salmela-Yhtiöt. The technology, which has already been tested on a pilot plant in Turku, Finland, is based on ecological water recirculation that minimises the use of fresh water. The project is the start of a programme by Salmela-Yhtiöt called ‘Clewer way of urban protein production’. The programme offers a global solution to the aforementioned challenges using modern cleantech and bioeconomy technologies with sustainable development principles.

The fish farm will grow cold-water fish using Clewer RAS technology, thus decreasing energy consumption to the lowest optimal level whilst at the same time providing top quality water for fish to grow. This method gives a year-round stable production of market size fish. Additionally, solid by-products from the water purification process will be used in agriculture as fertilizer.

Helena Lähteenmäki, Senior Investment Manager at NEFCO, is expecting long-term environmental benefits from this new way of running a fish farm business. “The project represents a new industry segment for NEFCO and fits well with our mission to support green growth. The environmental impact is multiple; the technology and solutions are new, so the demonstration value is good and we are pleased to be able to facilitate the implementation of Nordic cleantech solutions in Latvia. This concept also offers possibilities to scale-up more widely due to the challenges we face on a global level”, she says.

After the investment round, NEFCO will hold 19.5 per cent of the shares in Blue Circle and Salmela-Yhtiöt 24.9%.

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