BAKKAFROST has said it plans to make reducing biological risk an even greater priority for the future.
Runi M Hansen, chairman of the Faroese fish farming group, told shareholders in its annual report that in order to sustain profitability in the years ahead, the focus must be on the business.
He added, however: ‘But no company within our field of industry will succeed without focusing on biology.
‘Investments reducing the biological risk have therefore been key elements in Bakkafrost’s investment programme, with five-year’s investment plans announced in 2013 and again in 2016.’
At the weekend the company said it had decided to harvest the fish at its farming site A-73 Hvannasund Norður, which has been under suspicion of pathogenic ISA and is under increased surveillance as a precautionary action.
The site presently holds approximately one million fish with an average weight of 3.2 kg whole fish equivalent. As a result, the expected harvest volumes for 2017 will be reduced by around 2,000 tonnes gutted weight.
Bakkafrost invested in a new service vessel in last year, which was not part of the investment plan announced in June
‘The primary assignment of the service vessel will be sea lice treatment of the salmon,’ said Hansen. ‘Bakkafrost has to be flexible in order to maintain the operational risk on an acceptable level.’
As for the business, Hansen said around half of its investments over the next five years would be enhancing the smolt production on land in hatcheries.
‘The plan is to increase the size of smolt produced on land to 500 grams each. This will reduce the production time in the sea and reduce the biological risks. These investments will also open up for production growth over the coming years.’
Thanks to unprecedented price levels, when salmon reached heights not seen since the 1980s, Bakkafrost posted a record after tax profit of 1.339 million Danish kroners in 2016.
Bakkafrost also took control of Faroe Farming, acquiring 51 per cent of the shares in the sole salmon farming company in the southern part of the Faroe Islands. Both the farming and FOF segments had a very good year.
Improving efficiency was also another important target last year.
‘Bakkafrost made a leap in the right direction when it comes to increasing competitiveness,’ said Hansen.
‘The merging of seven factories into one factory in Glyvrar took the finalising phase in 2016. The harvest production opened in the summer of 2016, and the value added product processing has started in 2017.
‘We trust both the harvest and the value added product production will start achieving synergies and optimisations at the new settings in Glyvrar in the near future.’