Mowi Canada East is delaying a planned salmon farm expansion in Newfoundland after a “disappointing” quarter faced with biological challenges.

Mowi experienced several mortality incidents at its Newfoundland operations in the third quarter of 2021, including a die-off that started at 93,000 and increased to 450,000 fish at a Marine Harvest Atlantic Canada site. Then, in October, farming sites in Little Bay, Chaleur Bay, and Friar Cove experienced mortalities of more than 210,000 salmon.

The biological challenges were a primary reason the area posted a EUR 6 million (USD 6.7 million) loss in the quarter, Mowi CEO Ivan Vindheim said during a webcast announcing the company’s third-quarter results.

The company has faced numerous problems since it took over the operations of Northern Harvest via a 2018 acquisitionVindheim said.

“It’s no secret that we have faced a string of unfortunate biological incidents since the takeover of Northern Harvest in 2018, particularly in the Newfoundland area,” Vindheim said. “There’s still definitely a lot left to prove in this business unit.”

The Newfoundland operation, Vindheim said, has still not reached biological stability.

“Some of you have heard Elon Musk talking about how ‘physics is the law, and everything else is a recommendation.’ In salmon farming, biology is the law, figuratively speaking,” Vindheim said.

The continued biological struggles in Newfoundland are what led the company to delay its expansion in the region, Vindheim said.

“We are temporarily holding back on our growth ambitions in the Newfoundland area until we have reached a satisfactory stability, both operationally and financially,” Vindheim said. “Growth is one of the three main pillars in Mowi farming, but all things considered, I think holding back in Newfoundland right now is the right course of action.”

Despite the challenges in Canada East, Mowi posted record third-quarter revenues on the back of strong demand.

Photo courtesy of Mowi  

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