Mowi Scotland plans new post-smolt site

The Scottish arm of Bergen, Norway-headquartered Atlantic salmon farming company Mowi intends to locate a post-smolt unit next to its feed mill in Kyleakin, on Scotland’s Isle of Skye.

Speaking at the 2021 edition of Mowi’s annual Capital Markets Day (CMD), Mowi Farming Scotland, Ireland, and Faroes COO Ben Hadfield said consultations are ongoing with authorities to get the 3,000-metric ton (MT) facility approved.

If given the go-ahead, the post-smolt site will be based at the 182-acre site Mowi operates in Kyleakin. The feed mill already at the location was commissioned in 2019.

The aim, Hadfield said, is to increase Mowi Scotland’s post-smolt stocking weight up to 800 grams.

“We’re confident that with the temperatures we have in Scotland that this will allow us to farm and harvest fish within 12 months,” Hadfield said. “We have enough smolts to grow organically going forward, but we would like them to be at a much higher average weight to reduce the time in the sea.”

Hadfield said the new site will allow for increased fallowing as well as increased harvest volume, combined with reduced time at sea and treatment interventions.

Mowi Scotland currently comprises two modern recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facilities, one flowthrough hatchery producing organic smolts, and 47 seawater sites, and also a primary processing plant at Fort William.

Hadfield said while the operation has experienced uneven growth, averaging 3 percent per annum over the past few years, it has introduced seven new sites since 2015. During the same period, it has also secured an additional 17,500 MT of production licenses.

This makes Mowi Scotland “very confident” that it can reach its goal of 80,000 metric tons (MT) gutted weight yield over the coming years, he said.

“Productivity is an issue in Scotland, and it’s one that we must address. One of the big boosts that we will have is the change from 120-meter to 160-meter pens. It’s a significant step forward for Scotland. This doubles the size of the pens and allows us to reduce the units,” Hadfield said.

According to Hadfield, the reduction in pen numbers, while reducing the cost base, will also contribute to an increase of organic growth of some 15,000 MT. And, with most of the outgoing Scottish pens still in good condition, the plan is to reuse the equipment in Ireland.

In addition to increasing its productivity, Mowi Scotland plans to “expand and de-bottleneck” its existing processing plant with a “compelling capital investment going forward,” Hadfield said.

The expectation is to develop five new farms by 2025, with two sites to be determined by authorities this year.

“In addition to this, we plan to introduce a series of semi-closed containment operations in Scotland. This is expansionary biomass and it’s aimed at increasing our post-stocking potential. We do this because we want to reduce the farming cycle and improve harvest volume. It will also improve the biology in the sea with increased fallowing and better fish welfare,” Hadfield said.

Mowi Scotland has also confirmed that the commissioning of liquified natural gas (LNG) has now been finalized at the Kyleakin feed mill, with the permanent installation of LNG replacing the transportation of LNG by road, thereby reducing the overall carbon footprint of the factory.

Instead of two to three trucks a week delivering LNG to Kyleakin, sometimes a 52-hour road trip, LNG will be delivered by boat.

The producer said this was a “significant milestone” in the feed mill’s final phase of construction, following on from a successful 2020 in which the factory produced 150,000 MT of feed, including organic, fresh water and Label Rouge formulations, for its farms in Scotland, Ireland, Norway, and the Faroes.

At last week's meeting, Mowi CEO Ivan Vindheim said the company's volume growth has been lagging behind the industry over the past few years, and introduced its Mowi 4.0 strategy, which will seek to leverage new technologies brought by the fourth industrial revolution and used within agriculture to make the business more efficient. 

Photo courtesy of Mowi


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