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OTAQ's acoustic deterrent devices are used by salmon farmers in Scotland, Chile and elsewhere to deter seals and sea lions. Photo: OTAQ.
OTAQ's acoustic deterrent devices are used by salmon farmers in Scotland, Chile and elsewhere to deter seals and sea lions. Photo: OTAQ.

Aquaculture technology supplier OTAQ doubled revenue and gross profit for the financial ended March 31, 2020.

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OTAQ, which makes the SealFence predator deterrent system used by salmon farmers and also supplies equipment for the oil and gas industries, made revenue of £3.42m (FY 2019: £1.58m) and gross profit of £1.96m (FY 2019: £902,000).

During the period, the company listed on the London Stock Exchange’s Main Market through a reverse takeover of Hertsford Capital plc, a so-called “cash shell” for OTAQ.

SealFence earnings up

OTAQ, based in Preston and Aberdeen, saw a 20% increase in rental revenue from SealFence rentals.

It is developing an active biomass measurement system and plankton/algal bloom early detection system.

Last month it announced a strategic alliance with US-based aquaculture start-up Minnowtech LLC, broadening its reach into innovative technologies and helping farmers grow other species such as shrimp.

SME acquisitions

Non-executive chairman Alex Hambro said the reverse takeover of Hertsford Capital plc had placed OTAQ in a strong cash position which, in line with its strong revenue and margin growth, can be used to further innovate and broaden its offering across the global aquaculture sector.

“We have still maintained business throughout the (Covid-19) lockdown with minimal interference, as our employees were granted special dispensation to continue supplying critical products and services throughout,” said Hambro in an announcement about the company’s results.

“As we come through this period, our objectives are to continue development and contracts with SealFence, while also looking to acquire small and medium-sized marine technology companies, taking advantage of the continuing growth in the salmon-farming and aquaculture industry.”

ADD risk assessments

Earlier this month the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO) announced that salmon farmers will conduct risk assessments on the use of acoustic deterrent devices (ADDs) to ensure the sector remains compliant with an expected tighter enforcement of European regulations on the protection of marine mammals by the Scottish Government.

The SSPO said salmon farmers are required by law to protect their fish and acoustic devices are a vital part of the management techniques to help prevent attack by a growing population of seals. As such, Scotland’s salmon farmers expect and require effective acoustic devices to remain a part of the suite of predator deterrent measures used on fish farms after the review is completed.

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