Huon profits stung by jellyfish
IN Norway the villainin-chief this year was an exceptionally large outbreak of algae bloom. But at the other end of the world, jellyfish became a sting in the tail
for one major Australian aquaculture company.
Tasmania based Huon Aquaculture has just seen its profits drop by more than 60 per cent, partly due to a jellyfish
bloom which killed a large number of fish.
The particular species is known as Moon jellyfish and they killed many salmon in the Huon River and D’Entrecasteaux Channel on the main island of Tasmania late last year.
The company said the jellyfish event also increased production costs and caused poor growth rates associated with the secondary health impacts of affected salmon, increasing per kilogram production costs.
Some fish later died from gill necrosis, which was not helped by warmer than usual summer water in southern Tasmania for the second year in succession.
Huon’s net profit after tax for the year to June 30, 2019, fell to (Australian) $9.5 million in 2018-19 after totalling $26.4 million in the previous financial year. Revenue dropped by 11 per cent to $282 million, and harvest tonnage fell by 18 per cent
Deputy chief executive Phil Wiese said the fish were held in the Huon River and D’Entrecasteaux Channel while the company awaited new leases in Storm Bay; in future, they would not need to place salmon in such jellyfish prone areas.
He said the company was confident of a strong recovery, expecting harvests of at least 25,000 tonnes for the current financial year.
‘At this stage, albeit this side of summer, we are very confident we’ll hit the mark next year.’
It is only two months ago that Huon Aquaculture achieved an important first when the biggest hatchery grown salmon in the southern hemisphere was transferred to sea.
David Mitchell, the company’s aquaculture’s freshwater general manager, said: ‘Huon is setting a new benchmark for salmon farming in Tasmania.
‘The salmon will be in excess of 1kg, matching the size of a small proportion of salmon grown on land by the world’s leading salmon companies based in Norway and the Faroe Islands.’
Above: David Mitchell at Huon’s hatchery, where salmon are reared to 1kg