RASTECH Magazine

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South Korea looks to RAS amidst global warming concerns

July 7, 2023  By  Nestor Arellano

Interest in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) and land-based aquaculture has been rekindled in South Korea thanks in part to concerns over global warming and fears of contaminated discharge from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan.

The demand for salmon is growing. However, global warming has cut down wild catches and a “contaminated water scare” from the impending discharge of treated nuclear active discharge water from the Japanese nuclear plant that had a meltdown in 2011 has raised fears that marine fish could be affected, according to the Seoul-based business publication, The Korea Bizwire. “Domestic companies have shown renewed interest in land-based salmon farming,” according to the publication.

South Korea imports all of its Atlantic salmon with about 98 per cent coming from Norway, according to The Korean Bizwire.

One such company is GS Engineering & Construction Corp. The global engineering, procurement and construction firm has plans to ship domestically produced salmon by 2025. A smart aquaculture test bed is said to be built in the southern port city of Busan. It will be South Korea’s first land facility for salmon aquafarming that requires clean and cool seawater, according to Aju Korea Daily. The company expects to complete construction by late 2023. Meanwhile, the GS E&C’s subsidiary, Eco Aqua Farm, has been conducting cultivation tests.

Korean seafood giant Dongwon Industries, is another company that has entered the RAS space. The company plans to produce 20,000 tons of Atlantic salmon annually from its Gangwon Province facility.

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