Australia's aquaculture firm Tassal reported an increase in earnings in its 2020 half year financial results led by a new strategic focus with its salmon production.

Overall operating earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) increased 3.4 percent to AUD 66.4 million (€41 million/$45 million) compared to the same period last year.

Sales over the period dropped 15.8 percent in the first half of this year to AUD 274.5 million (€170 million/$185 million), due to the lower value export market.

The company pocketed 15.5 percent more in earnings before interest and tax per kilo at AUD 3.44 (€2.10/$2.30) during the half of the financial year.

This was benefited by selling and harvesting less fish to boost biomass and size. Tassal expects to deliver surging sales and harvest in the second half of this year, as a result of its strategy.

"Selling and harvesting less salmon in the first half was a deliberate operational strategy to underpin strong harvest volumes and sales in the second half and next financial year," Tassal CEO Mark Ryan said.

The company is investing AUD 46 million (€28.1 million/$31.2 million) into a smolt hatchery expected to be commissioned by 2022.

The Australia-listed company is also implementing new strategies to substantially increase shrimp production.

Tassal expects to harvest 2,400 metric tons in the second half of this year, with further growth expected after it expands its farming operations.

Tassal acquired a strategically located property to support its growth initiative in the shrimp business in August 2019 to farm 20,000 metric tons of shrimp a year.

In October, the company received "all major approvals" for its stage-three expansion plans for the Proseperine, Australia-based shrimp farm.