Give us time to find smolt deaths cause says Gigante Salmon
The land-based fish farmer reported Q4 results and at the same time revealed that it has had significant challenges in the start-up this week
Gigante Salmon announced on Sunday that the test period for its facility on a small island in Rødøy, Norway, was over and that the company would start stocking in the next few days. Here, 640,000 smolt with an average weight of approximately 100 grams would be set out.
Yesterday (Tuesday), a further update came along with the Q4 report.
There it is reported that the first delivery went very well, but "in the second delivery there was considerable mortality. We will come back with an update when the scope has been clarified", the company said.
One of Fish Farming Expert's Norwegian sister sites, LandbasedAQ, asked both chief executive Helge EW Albertsen and chief finance officer Rune Johansen if they could elaborate on what had happened.
"We will come back when we have an overview and can say more," responded communications officer Linda Storholm.
She pointed out that the incident is so recent that the company did not have sufficient information to say more at this time.
During a webcast of the Q4 presentation on Tuesday morning, Johansen said that the stocking of the first batch of 340,000 smolts went very well, and the fish settled in well.
"The second stocking of 300,000 last night (Monday night) we had a lot of mortality."
Understanding and patience
Albertsen also commented on the incident during the webcast.
"I am asking for understanding and patience right now. We are working to find out the cause, and we will inform the market as soon as we have identified this. For now, we are uncertain and it would only be speculation on our part," the CEO said.
He went on to say that the fish in the first batch started eating quickly, were curious and used the entire longitudinal flow trough.
"Then we got a bigger difference on stocking no. 2 that we are working on," Albertsen said.
He couldn't say anything about whether the mortality occurred after the fish entered the facility.
"I'm travelling down to the island this afternoon and will get more updates then. It has gone a bit fast today, but we will find good answers to this," he said.
No decision has been made on whether the fish that have died should be replaced.
"We have to discuss that internally, then we will have to make a decision eventually," saidthe CEO.
Originally, this stocking was planned for 1.2 million smolts.
As previously announced, the start of production has been postponed compared to the original plan.
"In order not to affect the further production plan for the plant to an excessively large extent, we have chosen to deploy fewer smolts than originally planned to be deployed last autumn," said the Q4 announcement.
"Our focus is now to look after the fish in the best way, while at the same time gaining experience and ensuring good operations," said Albertsen.
Fish have been stocked in one of three pools excavated into the island's bedrock. The remaining pools will be completed through 2024, and the next smolt release is expected in Q3 2024.