Both companies partnered on the construction of the first stage of the site, which will provide the company its first 10,000 metric tons of capacity in the United States.
The new design agreement covers the construction of an additional capacity of 10,000 metric tons, which will start in 2020 and is expected to be commissioned by 2021.
The move comes as other developments at the site continue. The company’s fish have reached the smolt phase, the last phase of the freshwater cycle, and it is building tanks for the next stages.
“It is a massive project, and we are working very closely with local workers. We’re trying to understand the culture in engineering and construction, which is very different to ours, so we’ve had to adapt,” Christian Sorensen, chairman of the board of Billund Aquaculture, told IntraFish.
“It’s a learning curve, we’re happy that we have gone through the first phase, and it will help us go forward.”
The project in Miami is not an easy one, he said. Climate conditions are totally different to the ones in Norway, and there are other pressuring factors.
“You really have to focus when you start a fish farm in a construction site, making sure that the tanks are ready, securing the biological demands of the fish,” he said. “But we’ve done it before.”
Following the first agreement with Atlantic Sapphire, Billund decided to establish operations in the United States to improve its capabilities during this project, and also looking at generating more business in the country.
“We created a strong team on management project and construction, it’s a win-win for us and for our clients,” Sorensen said.
“We foresee much more growth in the United States and we see Billund further developing there.”
In Europe, Billund is now working on the extension of Kingfish Zeeland’s site in the Netherlands, and is in talks for the company’s new plans for a site in Maine.
It also has projects in Russia, Finland and is increasingly seen interest in Asia – particularly in China and Japan.
But it continues to focus largely on land-based hatcheries for post-smolt production, and not just on grow-out operations.
“In my eyes, it’s very important to highlight that grow-out, land-based will not replace traditional salmon farming,” Sorensen said.
Traditional farmers are making progress towards the production of larger smolts, and there is great opportunity for growth in the segment, he said.
The competition in the aquaculture service supplying side is strong, but as demand for improvements grow and the sector expands, the company is trying to build up strong relationships with customers so that they can continue doing business together.
“Our main focus is on trying to optimize results for the projects that we work with,” he said.
“The most important thing is to make sure that we achieve success for our customers.”