Bakkafrost Q4 Scotland harvest hits floor at 1,100 tonnes

Bakkafrost Scotland farm, Loch Roag, Lewis

Bakkafrost harvested less fish during the final quarter of last year, the latest trading update from the company shows.

The fall was expected after a series of downbeat forecasts last year. Faroes-based Salmon producer Bakkafrost harvested a total of 17,100 tonnes of which only 1,100 tonnes came from its Scotland arm. This compares with 19,300 tonnes (including 5,300 tonnes from Scotland) in the same period last year.

The figure for the whole of 2023 is 73,000 tonnes divided into 52,400 tonnes from the Faroe Islands and 20,600 tonnes from its Scottish farms. The overall figure for 2021 was 90,000 tonnes.

The financial performance will be disclosed when the full Q4 and annual figures are published on 20 February.

Bakkafrost has been tackling various issues in both Scotland and the Faroe Islands and in November the company said it was lowering its harvest forecast for 2023 to around 74,000 tonnes.

CEO Regin Jacobsen also said the company had decided to postpone slaughtering into the first quarter of 2024 in order to optimise the average size of fish.

But the better news from November is that the biological issues in both regions are now improving, with sea lice levels in both the Faroes and Scotland at an all-time low.

Freshwater treatment has been successful both for sea lice and to reduce the consequences of biological threats such as jellyfish, affecting gill health. However, the growth in numbers of jellyfish has still been one of the main challenges in Scotland this quarter.

More worrying for the salmon industry as a whole is that various climate and biological issues in Norway, Iceland and Scotland in particular, have increased over the last two years and are now impacting on both harvests and financial performance.

 

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