2019 Gazelle winner

Akvafuture produces the world’s most environmentally friendly Atlantic Salmon


Photo courtesy of Akvafuture
Akvafuture salmon farms typically consist of six to 10 circular sea cages.

Rasmus Falck

“We make the world’s most environmentally friendly Atlantic salmon,” says Akvafuture Chairman of the Board Brynjar Forbergskog. The 2019 Gazelle award-winning company is Norway’s fastest growing and most successful company.

According to the criteria, a gazelle has to have:

  • at least doubled sales over the last four years and show a profit
  • delivered approved accounts
  • a turnover of more than NOK 1 million in the first year
  • a positive overall operating result
  • avoided negative growth
  • been a corporation

Every year, the newspaper Dagens Næringsliv features Norway’s most successful gazelles. A winner is selected in five regions of the country.

Akvafuture salmon live and grow in closed marine cages in clean water fjords under optimal environmental conditions. Water is extracted from the deep sea and this prevents their salmon from being exposed to salmon lice.

The company is registered and based in Brønnøysund in Northern Norway. It was founded in 2014. Today it has 82 employees and sales of NOK 205 million.

Storting representative Margunn Ebbesen said that it was fantastic to take part in the gazelle show at Chat Noir in Oslo. According to the proud politician, “It has been quite a journey the company has been through.”

With the longest coastline in Europe, Norway is a country defined by the sea. In the late 1950s, Norway started experimenting with fish farms, and the production has increased ever since. Last year, seafood exports reached an all-time high, passing NOK 100 billion. Fish-farmed Atlantic salmon represents 70% of the exports. Today, Norway has the world’s largest fish-farming industry.

The main species farmed is Atlantic salmon, representing more than 90% of production. Fish farms are strictly regulated to meet environmental, quality, and food safety requirements. The fish are raised in large circular cages. A typical salmon farm consists of six to 10 circular sea cages.

Lately, the farms have increasingly been challenged by sea lice. Various new innovative techniques have been employed with positive results.

Importantly, Akvafuture focuses on sustainability throughout the production cycle. Their renewable energy sources are used in their production process. The system includes a double security technology, which reduces the risk of fish escapes.


Photo courtesy of Akvafuture

In addition, the salmon producer is not only free of exposure to salmon lice, but waste deposits are recycled as a source for new products. The company claims to use the most environmentally friendly and sustainable marine salmon farming method in the world.

According to Forbergskog, there has been an enormous effort put forth by the founder Anders Næss, CEO Trond Otto Johnsen, and all employees.

The company hopes that the authorities will ask for bids from different fish farmers to compete with strong environmental demands for 50 new concessions. This way the industry will be forced to continue to develop.

“This is the future,” said Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment Ola Elvestuen, after visiting the plant last August. “… a plant without lice and escape.”

This article originally appeared in the February 7, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American.

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Rasmus Falck

Rasmus Falck is a strong innovation and entrepreneurship advocate. The author of “What do the best do better” and “The board of directors as a resource in SME,” he received his masters degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He currently lives in Oslo.