As biomass grows, Norway sees hike in vaccine sales

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Inoculations: Ingebjorg Saevareid head of production at MSD Animal Health

Some 25 million more doses of vaccine were sold in Norway during 2017 over 2016, according to MSD Animal Health, a vaccine developer.

The numbers ought to be seen against the growing Norwegian biomass which, in November 2017, had reached a record-high 755,000 tonnes of fish. The booster shots offer those fish protection against five known bacteria and, reportedly, some help against pancreas disease.

In all, and for all vaccine types, some 327.2 million doses were sold versus 302.6 million the year before. December 2017 saw 30,000 fewer doses sold than in 2016, with just 8.4 million bought.

July 2017 saw the first spike in sales, and the Norwegian spring months of April and May also saw higher doses that in earlier years for those months. These one-and-a-half-year-olds inoculated during the warmer months were moved to salt water in June and July, said MSD Animal Health’s head of production, Ingebjorg Saevareid, in a statement.

“A good start to vaccinations” for yearlings was cited as a reason fewer December inoculations, although it’s traditionally a slow month for that type of work.

“It seems like more (salmon farmers) wish to leave fish in peace through the winter and all the way to their removal to sea in the spring,” the statement said.

In 2017, 143 million fish were moved into marine grow-out between August and November, up from 140.7 million in 2016 and just 139 million in 2015. The December 2017 cohort, called late-autumn smolt, have grown by about three million fish over the past three years.

In 2016, Bergen-based MSD Animal Health earned a net profit of NOK 21 million (EUR 2.2 million) on revenues of NOK 586 million (EUR 60.6 million).