Disease costs Grieg dearly

The problems with infectious salmon anaemia (ISA) in Shetland cost the Norwegian multinational Grieg Seafoods over £810,000 in the first three months of the year.

The company, which owns Hjaltland Seafarms, had to harvest salmon early and for a lower price from two sites due to the policy of culling affected fish.

The Shetland operation still earned sales revenue of £9.1 million for Grieg towards its total income during the first quarter of 2009 of £28.6m.

Grieg reported to the Oslo stock exchange last week that it expected to produce 58,000 tonnes of salmon worldwide this year, 2,000 tonnes less than expected due entirely to ISA in Shetland. However, the company has gained from strong salmon prices, particularly in the USA, favourable exchange rates and a slump in global production caused by the devastating ISA problem in Chile.

The ISA in Shetland is the only black mark in Grieg’s drive to cut costs and boost profit in 2009. It recorded a pre-tax profit of £17.4m in the first quarter compared to a loss of nearly £8m for the same period last year.

The Shetland arm of Grieg is the biggest part of its global operation which includes fish farms in Canada as well as Finnmark and Rogaland in Norway. It expects to harvest over 70,000 tonnes of salmon worldwide next year.


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