Lerøy, Bakkafrost report biological challenges resulting in lower year-end 2023 harvests

Salmon farming in the Faroe Islands.

Bakkafrost and Lerøy Seafood Group experienced biological challenges at the end of 2023, causing them to report lower-than-expected year-end harvests and adjust their operations.

Lerøy harvested 47,500 gutted-weight tons (GWT) farmed salmon and trout in the closing quarter of 2023 – a decrease of 5,800 MT when compared to the corresponding period of the previous year. This contributed to a lower total for the full year of 160,000 GWT, which was down on the 174,600 GWT it reported in 2022.

According to the Bergen, Norway aquaculture and fishing company’s latest trading update, the volume produced at its Lerøy Aurora sites in Q4 2023 decreased by 2,600 GWT year over year to 12,500 GWT; Lerøy Midt’s harvest fell by 700 GWT to 20,300 GWT; and Lerøy Sjøtroll’s production dropped 2,500 GWT to 14,700 GWT, of which 6,500 GWT was trout.

Challenges related to string jellyfish impacted Lerøy's production in the last quarter, particularly resulting in the loss of feeding days at Lerøy Aurora, while Lerøy Sjøtroll harvested some sites earlier than originally planned. Lerøy Midt only experienced limited impacts, it said. 

The company is not the only one to face string jellyfish challenges – fellow salmon farmer SalMar was forced to cull over a million salmon due to similar incidents at its Ørnfjordbotn, Senja, Norway-based salmon farm in December 2023.

While Lerøy’s Norwegian salmon and trout harvest in 2023 of 160,000 GWT was higher than it previously anticipated, Lerøy’s biomass coming into Q1 2024 was slightly lower due. It said its 2024 harvest guidance for Norway remains at 175,000 GWT.

Lerøy Havfisk’s total catch volume in Q4 2023, which is a part of Lerøy's Wild-Catch segment, amounted to 12,500 metric tons (MT), representing a decrease of 600 MT compared with Q4 2022. This total included 5,000 MT of cod, which was 700 MT less than the previous year.

LSG’s full Q4 2023 results will be published on 28 February 2024.

Meanwhile, a new trading update issued by Bakkafrost Group estimates the company harvested 16,000 MT of head-on gutted (HOG) weight salmon in the Faroe Islands – where the company is headquartered – and 1,100 MT in Scotland in the Q4 2023. The Faroese volume represented a year-over-year decrease of 3,276 MT, while the Scottish harvest was down almost 4,100 MT.

Bakkafrost advised that roughly 10,500 MT of the Faroese total stemmed from its operations in the north of the archipelago, 3,900 MT came from farms in the west region, and its sites in the south supplied the remaining 1,700 MT.

In Scotland, all the salmon Bakkafrost harvested in Q4 2023 were ... 

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock/photolike

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