Gigante Salmon reports 300,000 dead smolt due to delivery difficulties

A Gigante Salmon flow-through salmon tank.s.

Norwegian land-based salmon farming company Gigante Salmon has revealed it lost 300,000, or roughly half, of its January smolt release in a “significant mortality” event it referenced during its Q4 2023 report.

Gigante Salmon said that the second batch of smolt released at its Rødøy faced challenges and that it would eventually provide a full update on the scope of the mortality once it became clear. However, in a release on the Oslo Børs, the company has clarified that the first smolt delivery performed as planned but that it lost nearly the entire volume of the second smolt delivery.

"If the fish isn't doing well, neither are we. Our employees are doing everything they can to address the fish's health challenges,” Gigante Salmon CEO Helge E. W. Albertsen said in a release.

According to Gigante Salmon, the mortality was unrelated to the company’s land-based, flow-through aquaculture facility.

“No single factor has been identified but, rather, a combination of several causes,” the company said. “The smolt in the second delivery was of lower quality for several reasons – among them, delayed delivery due to late start-up of the facility.”

The company said there was recorded mortality during loading the smolt onto the wellboat for delivery, which could have resulted in lower water quality during transportation. That, combined with a period of bad weather, meant the second delivery “spent longer in the boat than planned.”

The facility itself is performing well, with seawater being pumped as planned with good water chemistry, Gigante said. It added that the remaining fish are doing well in its tanks and that the company is “gaining valuable experience for future production.”

Still, the loss of half of the smolt will impact future harvest projections.

“It is of little consolation to us that this is not due to the design of the facility. We are doing what we can to handle the situation,” Albertsen said.

The company reported that its Q4 2023 investments increased to more than NOK 506 million (USD 48 million, EUR 44 million), compared to the NOK 385.3 million (USD 36.5 million, EUR 33.9 million) it invested in Q3 2023. The company secured funding to cover an additional NOK 200 million (USD 18.9 million, EUR 17.6 million) after the expected total cost of the facility was increased to NOK 645 million (USD 61 million, EUR 56 million).

Photo courtesy of Gigante Salmon


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