Bakkafrost plans a second hatchery in Scotland

Bakkafrost has secured land to build a large new hatchery in Scotland, in addition to its site at Applecross which is being upgraded.

CEO Regin Jacobsen announced the project when he presented his second quarter report this week, showing a group wide operating profit of £66m.

He said the company had acquired the land during the first quarter of this year. Depending on the final survey, the construction of the hatchery will begin before the end of this year.

CEO Jacobsen said there had been some challenges in one farming area, although they were not as severe as in previous quarterly periods.

“This demonstrates that the biological risks are still high. Bakkafrost’s strategy to implement large smolt in Scotland is key to reduce the biological risk and to improve biological performance.

“Building hatchery capacity in Scotland is therefore the topmost priority for Bakkafrost. The ongoing expansion of the Applecross hatchery is progressing well and will reach an important milestone by the end of this year when the 4th expansion phase is expected to be completed.

“This enables Bakkafrost to significantly improve the quality and increase the size of the smolt.”

During 2023 Bakkafrost’s hatchery at Applecross, Wester Ross (currently being expanded) will ramp up production to around 8 million smolts at 250g. It is intended to reach full capacity, with an increase of 40%, in mid-2024.

Jacobsen declared: “In Q2 2022 the average weight of released smolt in Scotland was 101g, which is 32% higher than in Q2 2021.

“New hatcheries in Scotland will increase the total production capacity up to around 18 million smolts of around 500g in 2026.”

During Q1 2022, he said, Bakkafrost secured the land for the construction of the second large hatchery in Scotland. Depending on the final surveys, the construction of the next large hatchery is expected to commence in H2 2022.

Supplying larger smolt for the farm sites is seen as vital in order to reduce the biological risks facing salmon farming in Scotland.

During Q2 this year Bakkafrost upscaled its freshwater treatment capacity in Scotland with the introduction of a second wellboat.

“This more than doubled Bakkafrost’s freshwater treatment capacity in Scotland, which is an important measure to mitigating biological risk and reduce mortality,” Jacobsen concluded.

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