Atlantic Sapphire averts liquid oxygen crisis

Atlantic Sapphire's Florida plant

Florida-based salmon farmer Atlantic Sapphire this weekend managed to avert a possible crisis due to a sudden shortage of liquid oxygen.

The company said on Friday that it feared running out of oxygen – which is vital for its land-based RAS (recirculating aquaculture system) facility – because it was being bought up by hospitals in the United States which are being hit by a new wave of coronavirus infections. This new outbreak is sending hundreds more people into hospital intensive care units, leading to a sharp increase in demand for lox (liquid oxygen).

The company has now told investors that it has managed to secure additional supplies of non-medical grade lox through a partnership with Miami Dade County.

Atlantic Sapphire stresses that this oxygen is not suitable for human use so therefore it is not denying essential supplies for hospital patients. Additional supplies are now on their way.

The company said that water quality at the plant remains excellent, and that over the weekend staff had “carefully” restored the feeding of fish in both the fresh and salt water systems.

It has been a difficult few days for the Danish-owned company, which saw its shares drop on the back of half year loss of US $51.5m (£37.6m), up 63% on the loss for H1 of 2020. The share price has since rallied on the news that it has managed to secure vital oxygen supplies.

Atlantic Sapphire, which is building a huge new land-based farm near Miami, lost 500 tonnes of fish earlier this year due to various technical issues and has described the start to 2021 as challenging, but said it was working hard to improve the situation.