The corona virus: This is how the listed salmon companies cope

Stian Olsen

Cermaq, Grieg Seafood, Lerøy, Mowi and SalMar implement various measures during the corona crisis.

On Thursday, the government introduced the strongest and most radical measures Norway has taken in peacetime in an effort to stop the infection of the corona virus. On Friday, new immediate measures came to impact the economic impact of the virus.

Worldwide, there are over 130,000 infected and 4,990 dead.

The virus, of course, also affects the business community, including salmon farmers. On Thursday, SalMar CEO Gustav Witzøe told that his company willarrange  daily emergency meetings in connection with the coronavirus.


Another listed farmer, Grieg Seafood, has operations in Norway as well as in Shetland (Scotland) and British Columbia (Canada). The company has for several days worked with guidelines globally, which the regions implement, writes communications manager Kristina Furnes to SalmonBusiness.

“In addition, all regions carry out their own risk assessments and measures in line with their local situation. An example of this is that when they work the rotation, different guarding arrangements should not be in contact with each other,” Furnes writes.

The guidelines state that all travel activities must be clarified with the manager, and no travel to conferences are allowed. Meeting activities should primarily be via video, or postponed. In addition, it will be closed to visitors to Grieg Seafood’s facilities. The company also asks its employees to consider postponing private travel.

Furnes says the goal of the guidelines is to minimise risk so that the company can maintain production and logistics in a responsible manner throughout the corona crisis.

“As a healthy food producer, we have a responsibility to help provide food to people,” she says.

She emphasizes that the company makes continuous assessments.

“We are of course following the situation closely and will adjust if something changes.”

According to Furnes, they have put people in the home office, for example, if they have been traveling in certain vulnerable areas.

“But operation goes as normal,” she emphasizes.

A demanding situation
The world’s largest fish farmer, Mowi, tells SalmonBusiness they are taking precautions and following the demands of the authorities.

“Of course, this is a demanding situation for us as it is for everyone else, but it is important that we who produce food for the population take our social mission seriously and keep the wheels going,” says communications director Ola Helge Hjetland.

Lerøy’s community contact Krister Hoaas lists various measures the company takes in an e-mail to SalmonBusiness:


We are restrictive mtp travel activities and of course follow all orders and recommendations from the Institute of Public Health, the Directorate of Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
We already have strict hygiene requirements, but have further strengthened the organization for, clarified and emphasized the importance of preventive hygiene, and of course also follow all the recommendations of the authorities here.
We are very restrictive in receiving visits. This applies to the entire business.
We, of course, monitor the development on an ongoing basis and will adapt instruments in line with recommendations from the Directorate of Health, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, local authorities and other authorities.

In the market, it is too early for us to draw any conclusions. This applies to both wild catch and aquaculture.
We follow the situation closely, have a close dialogue with carriers and customers, and will adapt according to capabilities and opportunities.
Japan-owned Cermaq operates salmon farming in Norway, Chile and Canada, and follows the recommendations of the Institute of Public Health.

“We are now working to get the logistics in line with the new decisions and advice that came from the government and the health authorities yesterday. The fact that all schools and kindergartens are closed from today means that we are now working on solutions that include minor reordering internally and mapping out any challenges that we need to find a quick solution to. We will have to be creative in order to ensure that everyday life goes up for employees and their families while at the same time taking care of operations,” says communications manager Astrid Aam in Cermaq to SalmonBusiness and adds:

“We now hope that the stringent measures the government introduced yesterday will limit the spread.”

Earlier this month, three employees of the company escaped from isolation after being quarantined on a housing fleet at a fish farm.

SalmonBusiness has also tried to contact CEO Charles Høstlund of Norway Royal Salmon, but has not received an answer.


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