Scottish investment pays off for Marine Harvest
SUBSTANTIAL investment has started to pay off for Marine Harvest Scotland, with significant improvements in survival rates for salmon, as well as better growth.
The news came as Marine Harvest Group posted record profits in its Q2 results and follows a challenging period for the salmon farming industry as a result of sea lice and amoebic gill disease (AGD).
Marine Harvest achieved an operational EBIT of EUR 198 million in the second quarter of 2017, compared to EUR 149 million in the corresponding quarter of 2016.
This performance, the highest ever for half year results, is largely due to bigger fish and a healthy market thanks to strong demand for salmon.
Total operational EBIT per kg for Norway was 2.50 euros and for Scotland it was 3.10 euros. Chile was 1.45 euros, Canada 2.35 and Ireland 3.40.
Ben Hadfield, Marine Harvest Scotland managing director, congratulated his staff on their achievement in reducing the impact of sea lice and AGD.
‘We were determined to tackle these issues and have undertaken a massive investment programme, which includes the introduction of new technology, along with improvements in the design of existing equipment.
‘But, most of all, we have a dedicated workforce who were determined to succeed.
‘These results have been achieved due to a lot of hard work focused on specific targets, such as reduced sea lice numbers, more efficient growth and lower mortality levels.’
The introduction of wrasse and lumpsuckers has helped reduce sea lice levels.This will now be followed by a scaling up of the company’s production, with plans to invest £3.5million in farming cleaner fish.
Other measures include the use of a thermolicer, skirts around the salmon farm nets, and hydrolicers.
Total investment in sea lice control has amounted to £12 million in the last year alone.
Another factor in the financial outcome so far this year has been the quality of the fish grown by the company. More than 97 per cent of the salmon produced has been rated as superior quality, which attracts higher prices.
The appetite for salmon continues to grow worldwide and the company continues to invest in new farms to meet demand.
Applications for salmon farms off the coast of Rum and at Sconser quarry have recently been submitted. New sites have also been opened off the Isles of Colonsay and Muck.
A £93 million feed plant is currently under construction at Kyleakin quarry on Skye and a £26 million salmon hatchery is nearly complete at Inchmore in Glenmoriston.
‘We provide much needed jobs in some of the most fragile economies in Scotland and these two projects alone will provide almost 70 well paid permanent jobs,’ said Hadfield.
‘Our workforce is now close to 700, with a further 500 jobs in the salmon processing facility in Rosyth.
‘Salmon farming is a thriving industry and a huge success story for Scotland and we will continue to invest to grow.’