GRIEG Seafood today unveiled profits after tax of almost 225 million kroners for the third quarter of 2018, up from the corresponding 2017 figure of NOK 190.5 million.
Harvest figures for the quarter were also slightly higher at 16.941 tonnes, compared with 16,875 tonnes a year ago.
But its Shetland, operations continued to present biological problems which impacted on the group’s overall performance.
Chief executive Andreas Kvame said: ‘During the third quarter, we had challenges with gill related diseases in Shetland and algal blooms in BC (British Columbia) , which resulted in reduced survival and higher cost in these regions.’
The report outlined in detail the action being taken to tackle the problems on Shetland and to achieve a harvest figure of 17,000 tonnes within two years.
It said: ‘The industry is collaborating to mitigate these challenges and Grieg Seafood Shetland continues to cooperate closely with the other sea farmers in the region to establish a long term, stable and sustainable marine biology.
‘Production is being focused on the best sites with the strongest possible biological control. Routines and systems, similar to those applied at Grieg Seafood BC, have been implemented for the monitoring of algae and oxygen levels.’
Other prioritised measures to ensure strong biosecurity, improved fish welfare and control of the sea lice situation include the use of aeration systems, fresh water treatments, sea lice skirts and cleaner fish.
Grieg said the root cause of the gill related diseases is being investigated, while the fish at sea were being constantly monitored to enable the rapid implementation of counter measures.
The report adds: ‘The underlying production in Shetland is as expected, but the production cost will remain high. The estimated harvest volume for the full year 2018 remains unchanged at 12,000 tonnes.
‘The current challenges related to gill diseases and reduced survival are not expected to affect the region’s 2020 ambitions. Grieg Seafood Shetland targets a harvest volume of 17,000 tonnes with a production cost of NOK 43/kg in 2020.’
Kvame said Norwegian operations performed better than anticipated, with good biological performance and decreasing cost.
‘Our objective is to ensure sustainable growth by combining great people, nature and technology.’
He added: ‘Looking ahead, Grieg Seafood plans to grow harvest volumes and improve profitability, and our target of 100,000 tonnes harvested in 2020 with cost at or below industry average remains.’
The group expects to harvest 75,000 tonnes for the whole of 2018.
Picture: Grieg Seafood CEO Andreas Kvame