August 30, 2021


Atlantic Sapphire looks to venture into rainbow trout production



Land-based salmon farming company Atlantic Sapphire is considering diversifying into rainbow trout production after reporting losses of $55 million in the first six months of the year.


The company, which has secured permits to produce 90,000 tonnes of salmon from a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facility near Miami, Florida, the United States, reported the losses in its most recent financial statement, which covered the six months up to June 30, 2021.


The loss, which was deeper than the $33.8 million it lost in the same period the previous year, was in part due to an incident on March 23, which resulted in the loss of approximately 500 tonnes of fish lost with an average weight of approximately 1kg, equivalent of around 5% of annualised US phase one harvest volumes and has now been attributed to an "identified design weakness from its RAS supplier", which "resulted in elevated turbidity and possibly gasses that caused abnormal fish behavior".


It did not, however, include the impact of an incident on July 9 in which approximately 400 tonnes of salmon were lost from its Danish RAS facility – the equivalent of around 17% of its annual harvest volume, which led to the loss of a further $3 million, after insurance proceeds. "The group's preliminary analysis, which remains subject to change, indicates that maintenance work performed in the filtration system caused water quality to quickly deteriorate, resulting in elevated mortality."


Atlantic Sapphire is now looking towards the production of rainbow trout as well as Atlantic salmon, and revealed that it has been trialling trout production at its Bluehouse RAS facility in Denmark. According to the presentation accompanying its H1 report, rainbow trout ova are now available from bio-secure, land-based sources and the species has strong potential to be produced in RAS due to their faster growth rates as well as their tolerance of higher temperatures and stocking densities compared to Atlantic salmon. These factors could shorten the production cycle, reduce risk and lower the cost per kilo.


"Trout may be an ideal species for Bluehouse farming in the future," the company said.


- The Fish Site