Scottish salmon farmers face growing opposition, says SalMar

Salmon producer SalMar has said the growing influence of angling and other special interest groups such as NGOs is creating more challenging conditions for fish farming businesses in Scotland.

The Norwegian salmon giant owns Scottish Sea Farms jointly with the Lerøy group.

SalMar said in its annual report this week that interventions by interest groups were in turn leading to a higher level of costs through lower efficiency and lower economies of scale.

The report did not elaborate further on the issue, except to say that framework conditions for salmon farming in Scotland had remained relatively constant over several years.

It also pointed out Scottish authorities had expressed an ambition to grow the aquaculture industry from its present output level of around 170,000 tonnes (per year).

Scottish Sea Farms (SSF), known as Norskott Havbruk in Norway, engages in the farming of salmon in mainland Scotland, Orkney and Shetland.

SSF generated revenues of NOK 3,118 million (£232m) last year compared with NOK 2,307m (£172m)in 2021.

The increase in revenues results from higher harvests and increased salmon prices.

The harvest total rose by 3,500 tonnes to 35,900 tonnes and should increase to 37,000 tonnes this year.

The operational EBIT for the year ended at NOK 214. (£16m) down from NOK 244m (£18m) in 2021 while the operational EBIT per kg gutted weight came to NOK 5.96 in 2022, compared with NOK 7.55 in 2021.

SalMar’s share of the company’s net profit in 2022 came to NOK 41m (£3m), compared with NOK 94m (£7m) in 2021.

The report adds: “Biological challenges (in Scotland), particularly those linked to gill health, have had a negative impact on the period’s result in the second half of 2022.

“It has led to harvesting of fish with a lower average weight, which has affected both cost and price achieved.”

Lerøy described the biological issues in its annual report, also just published, as being “very challenging”.

 

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