Focus on a strong heart, not growth rate, for Bakkafrost’s smolt

by
editorial staff

Want a more robust smolt.

“Despite uncertainty at the moment, there are good signals in some areas. For example, we are experiencing high demand for both salmon and contracts, which means I have great faith that contract prices will rise going forward,” Bakkafrost CEO Regin Jacobsen says after the presentation of the company’s results for the second quarter.

High mortality, not least due to weak smolt, has been a topic both in Norway and the Faroe Islands for several years. When asked why the smolt grows more slowly than before, and how that affects market growth, Jacobsen replied that it is important to have a strong foundation in the development of smolt. Furthermore, he says that the focus is now greater on quality rather than quantity.

Regina Jacobsen. PHOTO: Ole Alexander Saue.

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“At the start, we were quite eager to see results as quickly as possible. Now the fish are growing very well in the facilities, and we haven’t had any major problems. When developing smolts, it is important to have a solid foundation that can provide good conditions for robust development. A strong heart is very important, but it takes time to build. In addition, factors such as temperature and quality of the water must be correct. After the focus shifted to quality about a year and a half ago, we have seen stronger smolt. This naturally reduces growth, but we see it as better to focus on quality rather than growth,” Jacobsen said according to TDN Direkt.

Bakkafrost had historically high harvest volumes in Scotland in the second quarter of 2021, but had a decline in the area in the second quarter of this year. During the quarterly presentation, Jacobsen said that the company has now developed a good capacity with fresh water in the area, and expects that the fish can be preserved better in the future. Nevertheless, he sees an increased risk as the company moves into a tough autumn period, as the robustness of the smolt is not yet strong enough.

“At the moment we have too many fish over two summers, so this year will probably be lower than the last, and that is a place we do not want to be. But we have made a number of upgrades across the operation such as feed, water and protection,” he said.

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