First quarter operational earnings at Mowi's Chilean operations nearly halved due to lower salmon prices as the producer suffered from lower volumes and higher costs.

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Operational earnings before interest and taxes came in at €16.6 million ($17.9 million) down 43 percent on a year earlier.

This fell as harvested volume dropped 31 percent to 13,669 metric tons gutted weight.

This was in part influenced by lower average harvest weights as production was affected by sea lice and salmon rickettisal syndrome (SRS) issues.

Costs per kilo harvested increased by 11 percent from the same quarter last year, harvesting on lower volumes and additional costs related to the coronavirus health crisis, including logistics costs.

Deliveries from Chile are being helped by the addition of cargo flights to the west coast of the United States, as well as to Miami, the traditional destination for fresh salmon arriving in the United States.

A downside to this has been increased airfreight rates, but given the unprecedented nature of events, suppliers are happy to see products reaching their destination.

While North America remains the most important market for Mowi, Chilean volumes to Brazil were also "good" in the quarter, the company said.