Scottish producer contemplates Canadian expansion as profits soar
The directors expressed unhappiness with the regulatory environment for fish farming in Scotland.
UK salmon producer Loch Duart has announced a significant increase in profits for the 2023 financial year.
The Sutherland-based company posted earnings reaching £3.4 million, a substantial increase on last year’s £1.5 million, an increase of 160%.
The company’s financial statements for the year ending March 31, 2023, reveal a total turnover of £52.5 million, compared to £40.6 million in 2022.
With operations in Sutherland and the Hebrides, Loch Duart specializes in farming salmon of wild Scottish origin.
In their 2023 directors’ report, the company acknowledges the challenges posed by rising water temperatures and emphasizes their commitment to adopting less intensive farming methods, particularly in terms of farm size.
The report also mentions Loch Duart’s exploration of the potential to reopen operations in Canada.
In 2012, the company announced it was expanding its operations to Canada, through its subsidiary, Snow Island.
The company planned three farming sites, adding to the one already in operation in Nova Scotia, to produce 6,000 metric tons of fish annually.
The following year, the Canadian government rejected the company’s application for the farm expansion.
Loch Duart is also pursuing expansion opportunities in Scotland, having recently acquired five sites on Skye from Scottish Sea Farms.
The company’s report indicates efforts to increase production through new sites, including investments in infrastructure and the establishment of a smolt pipeline after the year-end.
However, the directors express dissatisfaction with the regulatory and consenting environment for fish farming in Scotland, citing the Griggs Report’s recommendations for reform, which have yet to be implemented. They argue that Scotland is lagging behind other jurisdictions in terms of growth opportunities and compliance costs.
The company, which produces more than 6,000 metric tons a year from its farms in Sutherland and the Outer Hebrides in the North West of Scotland, is owned by US investor Vision Ridge Partners. The company currently employs 160 people.