If the Hutterites can’t do it, no one can.
We heard this week that the much-vaunted Miller Hutterite Colony land-based salmon farm in Montana has failed, after only two years.
That was just long enough to get out one harvest — if there even was a harvest, we haven’t heard.
What we have heard is that they are shutting down and selling off all their recirculation equipment.
It’s all for sale, if anyone is interested.
This is interesting news not because we are trying to gloat. We’re not. It’s just that if anyone could have made land-based salmon farming work as a real-world, viable commercial-scale operation, it would have been the Hutterites, because Hutterites work for free. They live in a communal lifestyle and don’t pay wages. There were no wage and labour costs associated with this facility. Given that profits for land-based salmon farms are extremely slim, with fluctuating salmon prices enough to drive them into the red in a blink, having no wage and benefit costs for employees could have made this more viable.
But clearly after experimenting with this system the Brethren decided it wasn’t going to work for them.
Maybe someday someone will make it work, but people keep trying — and failing.
Perhaps it’s time for land-based salmon farm promoters to stop promoting unrealistic dreams as magic bullet solutions, and realize that conventional salmon farms are here to stay.