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Storms and sea lions prompt Nova Austral to close sites

Reference image of a Nova Austral salmon farm. Nova Austral farms in the Magallanes region in the far south of Chile.
Reference image of a Nova Austral salmon farm. Nova Austral farms in the Magallanes region in the far south of Chile.

Salmon producer Nova Austral has given up the second of two sites it had been leasing from another salmon farmer, Australis, in the Skyring area of southern Chile.

In November last year Nova Austral announced that it had decided to close the first site, Skyring 3, just three months after it had stocked 750,000 smolts, after the Skyring area experienced extreme weather conditions and the site was heavily predated by sea lions.

The decision meant the company took a hit of -US $4.1m and reduced expected harvested volumes for 2023 by approximately 4,000 tonnes.

Early harvest

Its neighbouring site, Skyring 2, was stocked with 750,000 smolts in March 2021 and has lasted longer but will also be shut after bad weather and more sea lion attacks in March and April this year led Nova Austral to perform an early harvest. Volume harvested was 500 tonnes instead of the 2,400 tonnes originally planned.

The early harvest has been partly responsible for the company reducing harvest guidance for 2022 from 19,000-20,000 tonnes (whole fish equivalent) to 14,500-15,500 tonnes.

In a financial presentation for the first quarter of 2022, Nova Austral said the two sites will not be operated anymore and the lease contracts will be ended.