AquaBounty says its GE production is on track

AquaBounty Technologies, the US firm producing genetically-modified salmon, has reported an increased financial loss for Q1 of this year, but says its drive to increase production is on track.

AquaBounty said the company made a net loss of US $5.1m (£4.1m)in the last quarter, compared with a loss of $4.2m (£3.4m) in the same period last year. The company was upbeat, however, about its production growth. It harvested 133 tonnes of genetically engineered (“GE”) Atlantic salmon, representing an increase of 46% versus the previous quarter.

The company also generated $963,000 (£780,477) in product revenue in the latest quarter versus $74,000 (£59,974) in Q1 2020.

AquaBounty recently celebrated the official groundbreaking at its new farm site in Pioneer, Ohio.

Sylvia Wulf, Chief Executive Officer of AquaBounty, said: “We continued to see growth in the commercial production of our GE Atlantic salmon in the first quarter, harvesting 133 tonnes of live weight salmon in the aggregate from our farms in Albany, Indiana and Prince Edward Island, Canada – a 46% improvement over the previous quarter.

“As we increase our harvest capacity, our customers are purchasing the entire output. This illustrates the strong demand for our product in the marketplace.”

“To support the robust demand growth we are experiencing, we are working to maximize harvest yields at our current farms, without sacrificing product quality. We are also making exciting progress on our next-generation 10,000 metric tonne farm in Pioneer, Ohio. We have incorporated “lessons learned” from our existing farms into the design and engineering of the Ohio farm. Pre-construction activities including the construction of roadways, on-site energy infrastructure and land preparation are well underway.

“With the completion of our groundbreaking ceremony in late April, we are set to begin the next phase of construction work in the near-term, with the continued expectation that the facility will be largely completed, and the stocking of salmon eggs will commence in late 2023.”

She added: “On the financing side, we are progressing with our plan for the issuance of up to $300 million [£243m] in tax-exempt and taxable bonds to support our project. We expect to provide an update in the near-term as we work to finalize the transaction alongside our bond underwriter, Wells Fargo Corporate and Investment Banking.”

AquaBounty’s “AquAdvantage” fish are Atlantic salmon that have had elements of Chinook salmon and another fish, ocean pout, added to their genetic makeup, for better growth rates and more efficient feed conversion.

Sylvia Wulf, CEO, AquaBounty Technologies