Bakkafrost to harvest 70% of volumes ahead of Q3 to reduce jellyfish risk says CFO

Editorial Staff

Bakkafrost is working through the problems with its Scottish operations, but micro jellyfish remain a major issue.

“The turnaround for Scotland is still not complete,” Bakkafrost CFO Høgni Dahl Jakobsen told attendees at the North Atlantic Seafood Forum in Bergen on Thursday.

The Faroese salmon farmer’s operations have proved a drag on profits: In the Faroe Islands, Bakkafrost achieved revenues of DKK 1,478 million ($213 million) and an operational EBIT of DKK 460 million ($66 million) for the fourth quarter of 2023. In Scotland, however, revenues were markedly lower at DKK 84 million ($12 million), with an operational EBIT of DKK -104 million (-$15 million). The company blamed higher seawater temperatures and biological hazards for the challenges.

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The main challenge is micro jellyfish,” Jakobsen said. “It is especially in Q3 that this is a problem, so this year 70% of volumes will be harvested ahead of Q3 to reduce the jellyfish risk. We will also be prioritising placing our own high quality smolts in the best sites.”

The company’s so-called large smolt strategy remains the answer to its struggles in Scotland, according to the CFO.

“When we go for a 500g smolt, we spend 18 months on land and 12 months in the sea. Then we utilise our licenses more efficiently, and in Scotland benefit from a reduced biological risk,” he said.

More than two thirds of trhe mortality is in the second year at sea, according to Bakkafrost. “With large smolts that year goes away, so it has a huge impact on mortality.”

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The most important development last year was massive increase in freshwater treatment capacity, according to the CFO.

“The results are clear. We have an 87% reduction on the parasite load on the gills, 98% reduction in fish lost to seals thanks to new nets. There are positive signs even though we still make negative numbers,” he said.


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