Management now hopes to be able to put out fish “during the summer”.
The land-based salmon farmer announced in mid-August last year that the smolt release in the newly built tanks near Kvalnes, Andøya, Northern Norway, had been postponed by six months.
“The first basin will be ready for production during the autumn of 2020. Further pandemic measures, with mandatory quarantine for foreign employees and reduced capacity among subcontractors, have created uncertainty with regard to the original progress plan. The company wants to ensure the best possible biology, and has therefore decided that the smolt should be released in the spring of 2021,” the company stated at the time.
Just over nine months later, smolt has still not been released into the tanks.
According to the newspaper Kyst og Fjord, the smolt release has now been postponed until “during the summer”. Andfjord Salmon CEO Martin Rasmussen did not want to time the smolt release any closer than that.
“We want peace of mind and comfort that everything works. When we are ready for everything, we will do the first smolt release,” he told the newspaper.
“In December last year, Andfjord Salmon decided to accelerate the entire area development of Kvalnes. In other words, we focused not only on the first basin, but on speeding up the development of the entire Kvalnes area. As a consequence, we expedited the blasting and excavation work in the entire Kvalnes area by about six months. Overall, this means that we reduced commercial, operational and biological risk on area development, while at the same time choosing to move smolt postponement to summer 2021. This plan change supported our shareholders, and in this connection we carried out a share issue where we raised almost NOK 90 million (EUR 9 million. ed) to speed up the work at Kvalnes,” Rasmussen explained to SalmonBusiness.
At the huge flow-through facility on Andøya, the company has a licence to produce 12,600 tonnes of salmon, and has secured land rights for a planned expansion of an additional 77,400 tonnes of production capacity.
Investor interest in land-based salmon farming has cooled noticeably in the spring. All listed salmon farmers have fallen in value. However, Andfjord Salmon has done the best of these, with a fall of moderate 12 per-cent in the share price so far in 2020.