Land-based salmon farmer Atlantic Sapphire expects to produce 7,000 metric tons of fish in 2022 at its Bluehouse site in Miami.

In 2021, the company harvested 1,275 metric tons of head-on-gutted fish in the first six months of the year, adding around another 1,100 metric tons in the second half, bringing the overall total to around 2,400 metric tons, company officials calculate.

While it is seeing mixed results across batches of fish in its tanks, "newer batches continue to perform excellently," Atlantic Sapphire CEO Johan Andreassen told analysts Thursday during a monthly conference call.

For the fourth quarter of 2021, Atlantic Sapphire harvested 400 metric tons of salmon. December's harvest was below expectations because the company paused harvesting to deal with a potable water system issue in the processing facility, which has now been resolved.

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The company expects to harvest more fish than initially planned in the first quarter -- between 1,000 -1,500 metric tons.

In the second quarter, harvests are expected to come in at around 1,000 metric tons, bringing first half volumes to a possible 2,500 metric tons, Andreassen noted.

Bluehouse salmon prices in December averaged around $12.30 (€10.89) per kilogram, roughly in line with previous months, although prices were pulled down by smaller fish resulting from early maturation.

The company should be ready to handle fish by early 2023 under its Phase 2 expansion plans. Upon completion of the expansion, the company expects it will be producing 25,000 metric tons.

Atlantic Sapphire has set a long-term target to expand annual production at the Miami Bluehouse up to 220,000 metric tons by 2031.

Atlantic Sapphire has been rocked by a string of operational setbacks, leading investment bank Kepler Cheuvreux to revise its estimates for the company to 70,000 metric tons of salmon in 2030, against an earlier estimate of 200,000 metric tons.

In September, its Danish land-based salmon plant burned down, a major blow to the company and its share price. Though the plant was relatively small, it served as an important commercial pilot plant for the group.

There was speculation the plant would not be rebuilt, and that the settlement from the insurance would instead be used for the ongoing expansion of the company's plant in Florida.

The company has not said if the Danish facility will be rebuilt. It expects an insurance claim to be settled in the coming months.

Last year, Atlantic Sapphire was compelled to reassure investors that operations at its Miami facility were back to normal after an oxygen shortage threatened production and sent its share price reeling.

In March, Atlantic Sapphire suffered the loss of 500 metric tons of biomass in Miami. It blamed the loss on a "weakness" in its recirculating aquaculture system (RAS).

In July 2020, the company was forced to harvest close to 200,000 fish. Of this, around 150 metric tons were sent for processing and sale.

Retail promotions in 2022

Atlantic Sapphire has drafted a 2022 promotional calendar outlining an array of supermarket ads for its salmon scheduled across the United States and Canada, although the company is not providing further details about which retailers it will be working with.

The company's products have been featured on shelves at HEB, New Seasons Market, Publix, Safeway, Sobey's, Sprouts Farmers Market and Wegmans.

Atlantic Sapphire's salmon was dropped by retailer Giant Eagle last year. The chain cited product quality as a reason for poor sales. In October, a major campaign by Florida retailer Publix, the largest ever for a land-based salmon supplier, fell short of expectations.

Despite these setbacks, Atlantic Sapphire products are on sale in around 2,000 stores, mainly in the southeastern United States.