SCOTLAND’S biggest salmon farmer, Mowi, reported a significant drop of 21,300 tonnes, or 36 per cent, in production volumes last year, due to incident based mortality.
Health issues such as anaemia and gill disease, as well as mortality at the new Inchmore hatchery and fish damaged in a storm, all contributed to the drop in output from 60,186 tonnes gutted weight in 2017 to 38,444 tonnes in 2018, the company said in its annual report, released yesterday.
However, good progress was achieved in controlling average sea lice numbers in Scotland – and also in the Faroes and Canada, with a slight increase observed in Norway and Ireland.
The salmon industry in Scotland overall has reported the lowest sea lice levels since 2013, SSPO figures show.
The operational EBIT for salmon of Scottish origin was EUR 77 million for 2018, compared to EUR 153.7 million in 2017, due to increased costs as well as lower volumes.
Operational EBIT per kg was EUR 2.0 in 2018 compared to EUR 2.55 in 2017. In Norway, operational EBIT was EUR 545.6 million in 2018, compared to EUR 463.0 million in 2017. And EBIT per kg was also up, from EUR 2.01 in 2017 to 2.95.
Volumes in Norway rose by 20,275 tonnes to 230,427 tonnes gutted weight, mainly due to Region North, which saw improved growth and a more normal harvest volume following biological challenges in 2017, said the company.
Performance in Chile was also impressive in 2018, said Mowi, with operational EBIT at EUR 74.2 million compared to EUR 58.6 million in 2017.
Harvest volumes in Chile were up to 53,165 tonnes gutted weight, from 44,894 tonnes in 2017, due to the return to a more normal harvest volume following biological issues in previous years.
In Scotland, less fish was stocked in 2017 in order to ensure control of biological issues witnessed in previous years, the report said.
The total cost per kg for salmon of Scottish origin harvested in 2018 increased by 20.1 per cent compared with 2017, a consequence of negative scale effects from lower volumes, and increased feed and health costs.
However, the company in Scotland predicts a better year ahead. By the end of 2018, Scotland reported an improving trend in fish survival and good control of sea lice prevalence, said the report.
Mowi Scotland expects a bumper harvest in 2019, up to around 65,000 tonnes gutted weight, according to the January issue of the company newsletter, Scoop.
Mowi has invested heavily in its Scottish operation, with the Inchmore hatchery opening last year and the new £100 million-plus feed plant, at Kyleakin on Skye, due to become operational shortly.
Picture: The new feed plant at Kyleakin