The algae bloom attack which struck Chile in March cost Salmones Camanchaca, one of the country’s largest salmon farming companies, at least $12m (£8.52m). The company, publishing its 2021 first quarter results, also revealed that the loss in biomass was around 3,700 metric tonnes.
Salmones Camanchaca SA is a vertically integrated salmon producer engaged in breeding, egg production, recirculating hatcheries for Atlantic salmon and pass-through or lake hatcheries for Pacific salmon and trout.
The company admitted the attack hit the business hard, adding that its harvest estimate for this year is now down from between 55,000 and 57,000 metric tonnes to between 41,000 and 44,000 tonnes. Two principal locations were affected: Reñihué Fjord, where there are three operational sites and cost the business 2.4m fish and $4.5m (£3.19m), and Comau Fjord, which has four sites and cost 3.2m fish and led to a financial impact of $7.5m (£5.32m).
However, Camanchaca says that despite “extraordinary events” the company will maintain its long-term cost targets, while the double digit decline in Chilean supply this year is expected to lift sale prices, which are now above pre-pandemic levels.
Revenue for the quarter fell by just over 17% to US $70m ($49.7m), while the impact from Covid-19 meant that both sales volumes and sales prices were 11% lower compared to a year ago. The better news is that prices are now 19% higher than in the final quarter of last year.
The company announced an EBIT or operating loss of $11.37m (£8.07m) against an operating EBIT or profit of $11.43m (£8.11m) in Q1 2020.
Camanchaca’s two main markets for Atlantic salmon are the United States, where it sells around half of its production, and Mexico which accounts for 26% of sales. The company said that following the opening of a new sales operation in Mexico, there had been a significant increase to that country.