Atlantic Sapphire achieving ‘major biological improvements’

Land-based salmon farmer Atlantic Sapphire has announced a significant improvement in biological performance at its US Florida site.

Presenting its 2021 annual report, the company also said revenues rose by 170% to almost $17m (£13.2m) last year.

Performance of all the batches introduced to Atlantic Sapphire’s Florida facility almost two years ago has improved, the report said.

The monthly increase in biomass is expected to increase gradually through the first half of this year until the group reaches around 4,200 tonnes of standing biomass.

Atlantic Sapphire suffered a net loss of US $132m (£102.2m) last year on a harvest of 2,374 tonnes, but the company said it expects to reach a steady state in Phase 1 in Miami during the third quarter of 2022.

The harvest volume in the second quarter is expected to be around 1,000 tonnes, and is expected to increase through the second half of 2022, until Phase 1 produces the equivalent of 9,500 tonnes in annual harvest volumes.

Despite a number of setbacks last year which included a serious fire which effectively destroyed its Danish site, Atlantic Sapphire said it is looking ahead with optimism, with phase 1 in Florida reaching a steady state and the focus now on phase 2. The ultimate goal is to produce 220,000 tonnes by 2031.

CEO Johan Andreassen said: “Following a material assessment, we have identified four key areas that we believe are the most important to Atlantic Sapphire and its stakeholders. Our ESG report is structured along these four categories: product responsibility, economic responsibility, environmental responsibility and social responsibility.

“Looking at our updated materiality metrics on this slide, we have this year elevated fish health to the top right quadrant.

“This is because we believe that the events of 2021 have increased the importance and impact of fish health and fish safety on our own internal decision-making and on our stakeholders’ assessment of our company and last but not least on the profitability of the business.

“First, we are focused on lowering our salmon fields’ impact on the ocean. To Atlantic Sapphire, one of our most important sustainability challenges is that the industry today still relies on a limited resource, which is marine ingredients, to feed the fish. Our ambition is to lead the transition of the industry into the ocean – sorry, out of the ocean.”

Chief Finance Officer Karl Øystein Øyehaug said he expects the company to reach break-even with operating revenues covering costs, during the third quarter of this year. He also expects significant cost cuts from economies of scale and “clever learnings”.

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