The illustration shows what the West Coast Salmon Recirculating Aquaculture System processes at its future facility will be based on. The system is bio-secure, 99.9% recycled water, and closed, meaning the salmon will not come in contact with local streams or other external water sources.
The illustration shows what the West Coast Salmon Recirculating Aquaculture System processes at its future facility will be based on. The system is bio-secure, 99.9% recycled water, and closed, meaning the salmon will not come in contact with local streams or other external water sources.
The face of agriculture in northern Nevada faces changes over the next decade as environmental issues, food trends and new types of crops enter to change the industry. One such change is aquaculture. 

The Norwegian based company West Coast Salmon AS intends to raise Atlantic salmon at a proposed facility at Cosgrave Farm near the Humboldt and Pershing County line. Project Manager Ralph Runge said the company secured the Cosgrave Ranch with water rights. The ranch is north of Mill City. 

Runge said the project has been in development for over a year. The project is in Phase 1 of three phases. He said the initial design phase is approximately 50% complete. Runge said impacts from COVID-19 slowed the project down but says the company continues to move forward with the project. 

West Coast Salmon will operate a bio-secure Recirculating Aqua System (RAS) facility that will produce 60,000 metric tons of salmon a year. By the time the third phase is complete, Runge says the facility will produce 140,000,000 meals of salmon each year. Runge said the company’s primary market is the US west coast with some product heading to Salt Lake. 

West Coast Salmon expects to complete the design and permitting phase and construction to begin by the end of 2021. The company intends to begin local staffing in the second quarter of 2022 and the first harvest by late 2024. The company intends to have its corporate headquarters in Winnemucca, Runge says. 

West Coast Salmon has partnered with AquaMaof Aquaculture Technologies. The Israeli company provides RAS used to keep the salmon’s environment healthy and sustainable. Runge said the RAS technology will enable West Coast Salmon to filter, disinfect and recirculate 99.99% of the water the facility uses. The rest will be treated and used in pivots for irrigation or returned to ecosystem. 

Another benefit will be to the local farmers. Runge said the company intends to make the waste available for fertilizer. He said the company has already been in negotiations with local farms in Humboldt and Pershing Counties to sell the fish fertilizer. 

Land-based fish farming is increasingly being considered as a more sustainable alternative to open-water fish farms. Runge says open-water fish farms have problems because it is difficult to control the environment. “In Chile, which is one of the leading fish farming countries in the world, new sea pens are banned,” Runge said, “because you have problems with pollution, disease, and predators.” 

Because of increased demand, salmon aquaculture is the fastest growing food production system in the world—accounting for 70% (2.5 million metric tons) of the market. According to NOAA Fisheries data, the US imports a majority of salmon is from Chile (49%), Canada (24%) and Norway (17%).