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Mowi Scotland said several of its farms had been affected by warmer waters, which resulted in higher mortalities in the third quarter.
The company, which more than doubled its operating profits and harvest volumes in Q3, had to contend with harmful algal blooms related to the above average sea temperatures.
Mowi CEO Alf-Helge Aarskog said at the Q3 announcement in Oslo on October 30 that rising sea temperatures could present serious biological challenges ahead for Scotland.
‘Incident based mortality losses were high in the third quarter, and amounted to €8.8 million related to an algal bloom and fish health issues (€1.2 million in Q3 2018).’
Mowi Scotland said the conditions provided challenges to salmon and lumpfish survival at some of its sites. A recent inspection of Mowi’s Bagh Dail nan Ceann farm by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) raised concerns that lumpfish health and welfare was not adequately managed, during a month that saw the highest average sea temperatures.
Mowi said its staff have since met with APHA inspectors to discuss the agency’s concerns.
‘Unfortunately, some farm locations have suffered higher than normal mortality rates over the past few weeks,’ said Gideon Pringle, Mowi Scotland’s production director.
‘Our farmers are devastated to have lost fish after spending months raising them at their farms, and are doing what they can to protect their fish from this prolonged change to their environment.’
To help alleviate fish stress from high water temperatures and associated reduced saturated oxygen, Mowi has provided additional air bubbling where feasible, and are harvesting affected crops earlier, the company said.
‘Despite this challenge, the company still plans to harvest guided volumes and remains committed to its open seas site development programme at locations best suited for our fish and the local environment,’ Pringle added.
Mowi’s Scottish division delivered an operational EBIT of 26.2 million euros, compared to €12.3 million for Q3 2018.
Harvest volume were up by 27 per cent to a record19,634 tonnes (9.034 tonnes in 2018).
Above: Mowi Scotland hit by warmer waters