Huon prof­its stung by jel­ly­fish

Fish Farmer - - World | News -

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

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