A strong market for salmon and low mortalities contributed to a surge in earnings for Faroese salmon farmer Bakkafrost during the fourth quarter.

On Tuesday, the company posted earnings for the quarter of DKK 376 million (€50 million/$53 million), an increase of more than 300 percent on the same quarter in 2021 when the company recorded an EBIT of DKK 120 Million (€16 million/$17 million).

Commenting on the result, CEO Regin Jacobsen credited strong biological performance for the improvements, noting that sea lice levels and mortality are both at record lows.

Demand for salmon is still strong, despite inflation, said the CEO, which is reflected in contract prices for this year, but supply growth is expected to be tight in the year ahead.

Jacobsen said that a new wellboat, Bakkafossur, delivered to the Faroe Islands in January, is expected to further improve this biological performance in coming quarters.

Scotland, however, has been more challenging. But again, a new wellboat in Scotland with dual treatment and freshwater capabilities is expected to improve this going forward, said Bakkafrost.

"Mortality in Scotland reduced significantly and we decided to reduce harvest to let the fish grow and gain weight and value. As a result, we have harvested bigger fish than ever before in January 2023," he said.

The company expects to release the first batch of large smolt from the expanded Applecross hatchery in the second quarter.

Applecross is home to the first Bakkafrost Scotland RAS facility, which will produce 500-gram smolt.

Recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) technology will eventually be used across all freshwater production, transforming Bakkafrost Scotland’s operations.

The Scottish Salmon Company was acquired by Bakkafrost in late 2019, and for the past two years the focus has been on aligning the businesses.

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