Last year proved to be the most profitable on record for the world’s largest salmon producer, Marine Harvest, which achieved an operational EBIT of €700.2 million, up from €346.8 million in 2015, mainly as a result of increased salmon prices.
Their annual report, published yesterday, reveals that it was also a year marked by a number of sustainability achievements, with 20 additional sites achieving Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification, meaning that 25% of the group’s sites have now achieved this accreditation. Equally, the level of escapes form its sites fell dramatically to 11 escape incidents, involving 12,790 salmon – down from 16 incidents involving 94,450 fish in 2015.
Other points flagged up were the sustainability of their feeding policy – not least that it now only takes 0.77 kg of wild fish to produce 1.0 kg of Atlantic salmon, and that 100% of the group’s marine raw materials come from sustainable sources. In fish health terms, the report point to the “reduction in sea lice medicine use and marked reduction in losses to PD (Norway) and SRS (Chile).”
Other highlights for the year included the establishment of DESS Aquaculture Shipping – a joint venture with Deep Sea Supply PLC to build, own and operate aquaculture vessels – and acquisition of farming and processing facilities in eastern Canada.
The company harvested 380,621 tonnes of salmon, down from 420,148 the year before, while production costs rose to €4/kg, up from €3.68/kg in 2015 – indeed, the report reveals that the group’s production costs have, in fact, increased by an average rate of 5.4% per year between 2012 and 2016, “mainly due to increased cost of feed and biological challenges”.