Bakkafrost increasing certified salmon offering

Published on
March 14, 2019

Bakkafrost’s push for sustainability is accelerating, the company plans to have 86 percent of all salmon harvested in 2019 certified to the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC).

In the Faroese salmon company’s second Sustainability Report, it confirmed that it had accelerated progress to have all farming sites ASC certified as part of its Healthy Living Sustainability Plan by taking the total number of sites certified from four to seven in 2018. This was one more than planned. 

Bakkafrost has also committed to audit a further seven sites to the ASC standard, bringing the total to 14 by the end of 2019. This would make up 86 percent of the harvest. Two sites have been certified since January.

The new report also highlights the launch of a DKK 10 million (USD 1.5 million, EUR 1.3 million) community investment fund, plans to build the Faroe Islands’ first biogas plant, and continued progress introducing measures to minimize environmental impacts on the fjords.

Since launching its Healthy Living plan, the company has taken a number of steps to embed sustainability across its value chain. This includes signing up to the 10 principles of the UN Global Compact, and increasing transparency in the sourcing of its feed ingredients by joining the Ocean Disclosure Project. 

“We are now one year into our Healthy Living Plan. While we are very pleased with progress against our commitments, we unfortunately had an elevated fish mortality rate in 2018 due to a number of unforeseen circumstances,” Regin Jacobsen, CEO of Bakkafrost, said. “Addressing this, and accelerating work to minimise our impact on the fjords will be our focus in 2019, but I am confident we will achieve this through increased certification of our operations.”

Also last year, Bakkafrost took full ownership of the development of the Faroese salmon breed. It’s expected that the acquisition of the program from Fiskaaling (Aquaculture Research Station of the Faroes), will accelerate the development of more resilient roe. To support the program, a DKK 200 million (USD 30.4 million, EUR 26.8 million) investment has been made in new infrastructure at a new site on the island of Sandoy. 

Roe from around 300 Faroese salmon families across four generations will be bred to find the optimal genetic diversity; to,  for example, identify hereditary characteristics for growth and quality, increase resistance against sea lice, and to breed out common pathogens which can cause disease. 

Bakkafrost said early results in a new generation have indicated “great progress.”

From 2021, the company will start using all roe from the Faroese breeding program to produce its salmon. 

In 2018, Bakkafrost harvested 44,591 metric tons (MT) of salmon, down from 54,615 MT in 2017. It expects its 2019 harvest to total 54,500 MT.

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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