Trout farmer reports higher sales and profits

Farmed trout, for so long the Cinderella to salmon, has been gaining in popularity and value.

This development is in part borne out by the 2021 results from Firda Seafood, one of Norway’s leading trout producers.

The figures show that last year its sales increased by NOK 132 million (£11m) to NOK 1.648 bn (£137m) thanks to steadily increasing prices,

The EBIT or operating profit rose from NOK 230.6 m (£19m) in 2020 to NOK 297.3 (almost £25m) last year.

However, family owned Firda is facing challenges – and not least from its own government.

Late last year Ola Braanaas, owner of Firda Seafood, took himself and his family above the Arctic Circle to Bø in the Vesterålen islands where wealth tax rates are lower than in the rest of the country. The region has been dubbed the “Arctic Monaco”.

He said at the time that changes to the regulations for valuing farming permits has hit family owned businesses hard because they receive an artificially high value.

This means that wealth tax bill on his business will more than quadruple next year forcing him to pay NOK 700,000 – or almost £60,000 for every week of 2022.

The Ukraine conflict has also created additional headaches for the business. Firda said in a statement the outbreak of war meant “that a significant market had been lost” although it was working actively to find new markets.

Results from the second quarter of this year show it has taken on “some exciting new customers”.

“Despite these challenges, the board expects higher activity in 2022 than in 2021,” the statement adds.

The Norwegian Seafood Council was upbeat about the trout sector in its July report, saying in value terms exports were their highest level that month at NOK 531m (£44m).

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