Norcod has chosen to keep its cod in the sea for longer after what it said was exceptional biological performance so far. Photo: Norcod.

Norcod opts for bigger fish

Norwegian cod farmer Norcod has made a strategic decision to extend its in-sea growth phase so that it can deliver fish with an average weight above 4 kg.

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Norcod said the decision was based on exceptional biological performance of the fish it has grown so far. As a consequence, the company has increased its expected harvested volume for 2025 by 10% to 27,500 tonnes.

“We also expect to command higher prices in the market by delivering larger fish that are even better suited for fillet production,” chief executive Christian Riber said in a market announcement.

‘An exceptional agreement’

Norcod started harvesting its pilot batch in the middle of August and slaughtered 345 tonnes (whole fish equivalent) by the end of September. The fish had an average weight of 3.7 kg. It harvested a further 841 tonnes (gutted weight) in the fourth quarter of last year, and had a biomass of 5,300 tonnes in the sea at the end of 2021.

The company today revealed that it had signed a contract with a Spanish supermarket chain to deliver 850 tonnes with a fixed gross price of NOK 60 per kg delivered.

“This is an exceptional agreement, confirming our strategy to enter into fixed price contracts, and even more so in that it will occur during the wild fishing season,” said Riber.

“It also signals that we are achieving our goal to clearly differentiate our farmed cod from wild-caught cod, even through the high-season, and at high prices.”

15% capex increase

Norcod said that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, high demand and inflation, the aquaculture industry has experienced an increase in raw material and transportation costs.

As a direct result, Norcod anticipates a 15% increase in capital expenditure going forward of an estimated NOK 18 per kg MTB (maximum allowed biomass) volume. Norcod has four sites with 14 licences and a total maximum allowed biomass of 10,320 tonnes.

“To be conservative, we are adjusting our capex to reflect higher prices on farming equipment, but we are confident this will only have a very limited effect on our business, as we continue to see strong improvements in production cost,” said Riber.

“We are well on track to execute our long-term strategy to become the world’s premier supplier of high-quality, responsibly-farmed cod on a year-round basis. Buyers are eager for our product, and we expect the market to grow as we grow.”