SalMar culls over 1 million salmon to mitigate jellyfish invasion damage

Salmar has culled around 1.2 million salmon at its salmon farm based in Ornfjordbotn, Senja, Norway, after a jellyfish infestation damaged the fish being kept there.

The company said there was a “threatening” influx. Olobonia, a type of jellyfish that grows in colonies that can grow up to 3 meters in length. Jellyfish have poisonous stings that can be painful to humans and harm salmon.

Salmer said there was initially an influx of jellyfish, which harmed and even killed some fish. As the number of jellyfish continued to increase, the company announced that it had decided to kill all approximately 1.2 million salmon on its premises, citing fish protection.

“Our staff worked intensively around the clock with external emergency boat personnel to address the serious and dire situation created by this unusual and violent invasion,” Salmer said. .

Mr Salmer said jellyfish attacks of this type and scale were rare, with the last one of this scale occurring 20 years ago.

“Salmar’s contingency plans take such incidents into account so that if they occur, they can be dealt with in a reassuring manner, with fish welfare as a key governing principle,” the company said. Stated.

It added that the incident will have no economic impact on Salmar beyond the value of the destroyed fish, nor will it affect current induced slaughter volumes.

In addition to the jellyfish fatality, Salmar reported that another fatality occurred at the Jovica salmon hatchery in Senja, Norway. The company claims that a fence was incorrectly installed in the tank, which allowed fish to get into the equipment of the recirculating aquaculture system, including biofilters and fish traps designed to catch fish that entered the system. He said it was gone.

About 200,000 juvenile salmon, with an average weight of 7 grams, passed through the barrier, Salmer said. Most of the young fish that escaped were captured in traps, but about 200 young fish that could not adapt to the sea escaped.

The two fatalities occurred shortly after the company announced its third quarter 2023 results, which showed strong operational performance, higher profits per kilogram, and much higher yields.

The company announced that its harvest in the third quarter of 2023 increased to 78,100 tonnes (MT) from 53,600 tonnes in 2022. These increased harvests also led to higher operating profits, with sales reaching NOK 7.5 billion (US$688 million, EUR 636 million), up from NOK, the company announced. 4.9 billion (US$449 million, €415 million) in the third quarter of 2022.

The yield has increased and so has the income. The company’s operating profit before interest and tax (EBIT) was NOK 2.3 billion (USD 211 million, EUR 195 million), compared with NOK 1.3 billion (USD 120 million, EUR 100 million) in the third quarter of 2022. 11 million euros), an increase of 75%. The overall revenue increase was also accompanied by an increase in his EBIT per kilogram. The company’s EBIT per kilogram was NOK 29.5 (USD 2.70, EUR 2.50) in Q3 2023, compared to NOK 24.5 (USD 2.24, EUR 2.07) in Q3 2022.

The company’s Farming Central Norway division recorded its highest ever harvest in the quarter, reaching 48,400 tonnes and an EBIT of NOK 25.2 (USD 2.30, EUR 2.13) per kilogram. The segment’s operating profit amounted to NOK 3.8 billion (USD 348 million, EUR 322 million), compared with NOK 2.5 billion (USD 229 million, EUR 212 million) in the third quarter of 2022. operating EBIT of NOK 1.2 billion (USD 109 million, EUR 212 million). 101 million euros), up from NOK 978 million (US$89 million, €83 million). The company said its 2023 harvest guidance has been reduced to 144,000 tonnes and the farm is currently in good biological condition.

SalMar’s Northern Norway agricultural division also performed well, with a harvest of 25,700 tonnes in the third quarter of 2023 and an EBIT per kilogram of NOK 33.8 (USD 3.09, EUR 2.86). The segment’s operating profit amounted to NOK 2 billion (USD 183 million, EUR 169 million), up from NOK 946 million (USD 86 million, EUR 80 million) in the third quarter of 2022. , NOK 868 million (USD 79 million, EUR 73 million), up from NOK 428 million (USD 39 million, EUR 36 million). The company said its harvest forecast remained unchanged at 95,000 tonnes, despite the transfer of 4,000 tonnes of harvest following its merger with Arctic Offshore Farming’s Salmar Aaker Ocean.

SalMar’s Icelandic salmon farming division reported a relatively flat harvest of 4,000 tonnes in the third quarter of 2023 compared to 3,800 tonnes in the third quarter of 2022. Due to a slight increase in yield, EBIT per kilogram deteriorated slightly to NOK 8.7 (USD 0.79, EUR 0.73). , down from 10.20 NOK (US$0.93, EUR 0.86). Overall, the Iceland division’s operating profit was NOK 476 million (USD 43 million, EUR 40 million), up from NOK 340 million (USD 31 million, EUR 29 million), with operating profit of NOK 3,500 million. million NOK (US$3.2 million). , EUR 2.9 million) – down from NOK 39 million (USD 3.5 million, EUR 3.3 million) year-on-year.

Salmer Acre Ocean continued to have no income, but the loss in profit was small. The company said its operating EBIT was a loss of NOK 8 million (USD 732,000, EUR 678,000), compared with a loss of NOK 34 million (USD 3.1 million, EUR 2.8 million) in the third quarter of 2022. . The company currently has two semi-offshore projects underway.

Meanwhile, the company’s Scottish Sea Farm division continues to struggle in 2023. Operating profit for the third quarter of 2023 was NOK 867 million (USD 79 million, EUR 73 million), down from NOK 972 million (USD 89 million, EUR 82 million). The combination of lower profits and a deterioration in operating EBIT resulted in the company posting a loss of NOK 121 million (USD 11 million, EUR 10 million).

Mr Salmer said biological challenges were impacting Scottish Sea Farms’ crop size, cost and price performance, contributing to some of the losses, with the company’s EBIT per kg It said each case resulted in a loss of NOK 13.7 (USD 1.25, EUR 1.16). 1 kg of fish. The company said accident-based fatalities at its Scottish Sea Farm division amounted to £13.1 million (US$16.5 million, €15.3 million). Salmon production across Scotland faces a number of challenges in 2023, including microscopic jellyfish infestations and record temperatures due to the El Niño phenomenon.

The company also completed the sale of Floy, which was acquired by a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs for NOK 6.6 billion (US$604 million, €559 million). SalMar said the sale gave him a profit of NOK 363 million (US$33 million, €30 million).

The company received Norwegian resource tax, which was initially set at a rate of 40% but was later reduced to 25% due to political agreement, for a total of NOK 1.12 billion (USD 102 million, EUR 95 million). It is expected that there will be an impact. We analyze the company’s performance this quarter based on current best estimates.

“Salmar remains strongly opposed to resource use taxes and has consistently warned against them,” the company said. “This tax is based on the incorrect assumption that aquaculture food production is a location-bound, resource-renting industry that consistently generates abnormal returns that are disproportionate to the risks involved. Unfavorable design could result in a significant portion of invested capital being withdrawn from the industry.”

SalMar estimates the annual cost of resource use taxes, including production taxes, to be NOK 3.5 billion (US$320 million, EUR 297 million).

Photo courtesy of SalMar

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