February 26, 2021

The company that brought the sea to the Castilian plateau


Madrid

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Globalization has shown in recent years endless possibilities to develop business in unexpected places. It is already common to produce autochthonous crops of a certain continent in others; in some cases with great success, such as avocados in Malaga and Granada, tomatoes in the Netherlands or oranges in Israel. But if we talk about sustainable aquaculture in the province of Valladolid it may seem, at first glance, a particularly striking fact. And if a mold was missing to break, the project has been carried out by a Norwegian entrepreneur, Bjorn aspheim, which carried out its research in the United States to later land in Spain.

The company Bollard, established since 2015 in Medina del Campo, has started a prawn aquaculture farm in whose process they do not use antibiotics, sulfites or dyes for its conservation. The entire process is controlled to ensure the highest quality and sustainability in the process. The cultivated species and the best suited to aquaculture is the class “Penaeus vannamei”, What is it originally from Central America, although there are other varieties in the world.

Since its inception, sustainability has been the central axis of its business policy, says Noray’s commercial director, Sebastian Diaz. The larvae, imported from the United States, come free of diseases and their subsequent breeding and production development – already in Spain – is done in a controlled environment as they are not reared in open water.

Díaz assures that this type of production has an increasing number of followers, especially among consumers in northern Europe, not only because it lacks preservatives and antibiotics, but also because of the type of aging, which is environmentally friendly and the labor conditions of the producers are ensured. In many of the producing countries the deforestation of mangroves to increase the area dedicated to their breeding and the abundance of microplastics.

The main producing countries of the world they are China, Vietnam, Thailand and India in Asia, and Ecuador, Peru, Honduras and Nicaragua in America.

The decision to choose our country as the ideal one to implement the project is due to the high consumption of crustaceans, such as prawns, prawns or prawns, being highly appreciated by the Spanish consumer, with a consumption of 170,000 tons per year. In fact, Mercamadrid is the second central market in the world for fish and seafood, after Tsukiji, in Tokyo.

The farm has 7,000 square meters and produces one hundred tons per year

According to Díaz, in Europe and in Spain there are already shrimp farms, but “ours is the first in prawn farming». The exploitation has 7,000 cubic meters with 24 tanks (16 of 300 cubic meters and eight of 150 cubic meters) and produces one hundred tons per year. «We could double that amount, but we do not do it in a clear commitment to quality ”, he assures. In Noray they only breed two sizes, while it is usual for there to be up to ten. “We only work two standard sizes.”

All work is carried out in a closed environment, where the conditions found in nature are reproduced. The 80% of the process is due to the quality of the water and has been achieved through an elaborate study to reproduce the temperature, salinity and light conditions conducive to shrimp. Neither running water nor that of aquifers works. Subsequently, it is purified and reused.

Sea and land

The name of the company, Noray, is a play on words due to its phonetic resemblance to Norway (Norway in English) and its meaning in Spanish, since according to the RAE, bollard It is the bollard or mooring that is on land to secure the boat, “which means the connection of the sea with the land,” says Díaz.

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Regarding commercialization, Noray is also committed to closing the cycle of circular economy and sustainability in the packaging process: trays Transparent PET –Better reused than traditional ones–, recycled cellulose and the so-called of Modified atmosphere, to extend the useful life of the product. And for shipments, stretched polyethylene (white cork) boxes have been replaced by FSC-certified thermal recycled cardboard packaging.

The enclave of Medina del Campo, due to its location, allows covering all the demand for Spain, Portugal and too France, between 24 and 48 hours. Noray is immersed in a process of expansion. The Junta de Castilla y León has invested three million euros. Later the company hopes to open farms in other countries.

Due to the pandemic, the company has been changing its sales strategy and has opted for large distribution and shipments to individuals, due to the closure of a large part of the restaurant. Originally the restaurants with Michelin stars they were his main customers. In 2019, they sold between 30 and 40% to these, while last year the large distribution monopolized around 95% of total sales.

Production on request

Currently, all Noray production is made to order, especially for large quantities, although there is a “stock” of frozen goods. The 80% of the elaboration is for fresh and cooked, and the rest, frozen.

Regarding the exports, these have been gaining weight and currently stand at 70%, mainly intended for Austria, Germany and soon to Switzerland and Norway.

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