JLEN investment in a controlled environment aquaculture project

LONDON, UK: JLEN, the listed environmental infrastructure fund, has reached financial close on a minority equity investment in a controlled environment aquaculture project.

The equity investment will be made alongside other Foresight funds, as well as the developer and operator of the facility, Hima Seafood AS. JLEN’s total investment is expected to be up to approximately £40m over the next three to four years.

The project consists of a land-based aquaculture facility to be built in Rjukan, Norway, and will use established recirculating aquaculture system (“RAS”) technology. It is expected that partial operations will commence in 2024 with full operations expected in 2025, following which, the facility is forecasted to produce approximately 8,000 tonnes of trout annually. This will be sold to European and international salmonid markets via an offtake agreement with an established Norwegian seafood distribution company with global reach.

Driven by a growing global population and an expanding middle class, the world faces an increasing demand for quality protein amid limited resources of usable land and water. Recent data shows that 34.8%1 of global animal protein production comes from fish and seafood sources and the fish and seafood market grew between 4% – 8% annually in the ten-year period to 20191.

Global demand for animal protein is projected to double by 20502. Fish, including salmonids such as salmon and trout, is considered one of the most efficient sources of high-quality animal protein due to the rate at which it converts feed into edible mass, its high protein retention and high rate of edible meat per kilogram, as well as various nutritional benefits. Land-based aquaculture, such as the RAS based facility to be built in Rjukan, can provide a range of benefits compared with alternative methods of aquaculture such as improved fish mortality rates, less local environmental degradation and a lower use of antibiotics and other chemicals to control disease and parasites.

Richard Ramsay, Senior Independent Director of JLEN, said: “We are pleased to make our first investment into land-based aquaculture, contributing to the sustainable supply of trout to meet rising consumer demand. We consider that this investment will deliver environmental benefits to the food system and offer a product to suit today’s consumer needs.”

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