Atlantic Sapphire reports 200,000 fish emergency harvest

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Exact chain of events is still being investigated. 62.5 per cent of the salmon involved will not be sold.

In a statement on the Olso Stock Exchange, Atlantic Sapphire reports that on Tuesday, workers at its Miami site were forced to initiate an emergency harvest from one of its grow-out systems, that was recently stocked despite not being fully commissioned. Other grow-out systems of the farm were unaffected, it wrote.

“The exact chain of events is still being investigated, however, disruptive construction work close to the operating environment, including loud sounds and severe vibrations, stressed the fish. Additionally, recent challenges of delayed construction and commissioning, in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic impact, have resulted in increased risk in the operation at this time. There is no indication of intoxication or disease being the cause of this event,” wrote Atlantic Sapphire.

The land-based salmon farmer explained that some critical components and functionality of the farm are not yet operational limits the tools the Company has to deal with non-conformities such as quickly moving fish out of systems if needed. The permanent fish movement system is planned to be operational shortly and would likely have mitigated this event.

Close to 200,000 fish with a total weight of approximately 400 tonnes are expected to be harvested, of which approximately 150 tonnes are planned to be sent for processing and will be sold. 200,000 fish account for approximately 700 tonnes of projected harvest, or three to four weeks of US phase 1 annualized revenue. As the permanent emergency harvest facility has not yet been completed, all the fish will not be sold.

“This incident demonstrates the challenges of completing construction commissioning of all Bluehouse systems and support functions while in operation, but also the value and importance of having multiple independent systems to diversify biological risk. Upon final completion of the US Phase 1 facility, with the expected annual output of around 10,000 tons (HOG) salmon per year,
Atlantic Sapphire will have a total of twelve independent grow-out systems in the US, limiting the risk and financial impact of any systemic contamination to below 10% of total output and revenue,” it reported.

The land-based salmon farmer is still assessing the complete financial impact of the event, including insurance proceeds. Atlantic Sapphire is still planning the first harvest in the US by the end of Q3 this year.

Following the announcement, the Atlantic Sapphire stock price was down 8.1 per cent.