Grieg completes first Newfoundland harvest, but Norwegian operations hit by biological challenges

Despite the challenges, the company has big plans to ramp up its in-house processing capabilities
Renderings of Grieg's plans for a new in-house processing facility
Renderings of Grieg's plans for a new in-house processing facility | Image courtesy of Grieg Seafood
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Bergen, Norway-headquartered Grieg Seafood ASA experienced a difficult Q4 2023, with weak biological performance at the company’s operations in the Finnmark region of Norway particularly affecting year-end output.

In the salmon producer’s Q4 2023 report Grieg CEO Andreas Kvame confirmed that the Spironucleus salmonicida parasite, winter ulcers, and jellyfish have impacted survival rates and operational efficiency in Finnmark, leading to reduced volumes, increased handling costs, and lower selling prices. Kvame also emphasized he’s not satisfied with the results and that measures have been taken to address the challenges both in the short and medium terms.

The Spironucleus parasite alone is estimated to have caused a total loss of NOK 900 million (USD 86.1 million, EUR 79.3 million) to the company since it was first detected in 2022 at Grieg’s Finnmark freshwater facility.

Kvame said that thanks to preventive measures implemented soon after the parasite’s detection, all fish transferred to ocean farms in 2023 were free of the parasite, and the company expects related negative impacts to cease after it has harvested the last fish groups from the 2022 generation in the second quarter of this year.

“We are also turning every stone to mitigate winter ulcers, including new vaccines and probiotic treatments to strengthen fish health,” Kvame wrote. “There are some indications of positive vaccine effects, but we need more time to know for sure. Preliminary results will be available this coming summer.”

The full impacts of Grieg’s endeavors will take time to come to fruition, though, due to the long production cycle, meaning that challenging biological conditions will most likely continue affecting results in Finnmark in Q1 2024, he added.

“Expanding our post-smolt strategy is key to improving biology, fish health, and welfare in all of our regions,” Kvame said. “We see strong biological improvements from post-smolt in Rogaland, where we have pioneered this production method since 2019.

Grieg has also seen ...

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