Atlantic Sapphire expects lower salmon production due to aftereffects of water temperature problems

Salmon swimming in one of Atlantic Sapphire's grow-out tanks.

In its first operational update of the new year, Norwegian salmon farmer Atlantic Sapphire announced water temperature issues it experienced in 2023 are still impacting its production.

The company said in an update posted to the Oslo Børs that it has seen higher levels of early maturation in fish associated with Q3 2023 temperature issues. During June and July, hot weather in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. – where Atlantic Sapphire’s salmon recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facility is based – caused water temperature issues that caused the company to undershoot its biomass targets.

Soon after its Q3 2023 update, the company said it had installed water chillers that have proven “effective and reliable” to prevent future temperature issues.

“Since the temperature issue was resolved in October 2023, the feeding has been trending up, driven by improved water quality,” the company said at the time.

However, those water temperature issues, the company said, are going to continue to have an impact into 2024.

The early levels of maturation are affecting fish that the company planned to harvest in H1 2024, “which may impact price achievement and the ability of these fish groups to achieve the same biological performance as seen in June 2023,” Atlantic Sapphire said. 

The company harvested 310 metric tons (MT) of head-on gutted salmon in the three months ended 31 December 2023, with a net biomass gain in the period of 1,100 MT live weight. Its standing biomass estimate as of 31 December 2023 was just above 3,000 MT live weight.

That 310 MT harvest weight was the lowest level the company has reported since it began operating in 2020, but the company openly said in November 2023 it anticipated low harvest levels of around 300 MT. However, it added that based on metrics at the time, it predicted it would reach break-even earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization in H1 2024.

In October, Atlantic Sapphire Founder and CEO Johan Andreassen stepped down from his role, effective as soon as the board of directors finds a replacement. Based on its latest operational update, the search for a new CEO is ongoing.

The company said it plans to do a full Q4 2023 operational update in February that aims to include more details on operational performance and focus areas from Q4 2023 to date.

Photo courtesy of Atlantic Sapphire


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