More production trouble for Atlantic Sapphire: 500 tonnes of salmon lost

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High mortality after “design weakness from its RAS supplier”.

On Tuesday, March 23, 2021, Atlantic Sapphire had an incident in one of its grow-out systems at its Miami facility. The other systems were unaffected.

According to the company’s preliminary analysis, which remains subject to change, an identified design weakness from its RAS supplier caused significant amounts of particles to flow from the drum filters (particle filtration systems) into the biofilters and trickling filters. This resulted in elevated turbidity and possibly gasses and caused abnormal fish behavior.

Billund Aquaculture is Atlantic Sapphire’s RAS supplier and designer.

Fish gathered at the bottom of the tanks, disrupting the flow of new water, causing increased mortality.

Atlantic Sapphire has, from a previous incident, identified an opportunity to ensure undisrupted water flow by modifying the center drain design in all of its grow-out tanks. This work had already started prior to this incident. The center drain in the affected system had not yet been modified. Keeping an undisrupted water flow is critical to the operation of a RAS system.

As earlier communicated, Atlantic Sapphire is in the process of splitting its US phase 1 grow-out systems in half in order to reduce the impact of a potential incident. Currently, four out of six systems have been split. The splitting of the affected system has not yet been completed.

500 tonnes (HOG) of fish is expected to be lost, equivalent of around 5 per-cent of annualized phase 1 harvest volumes, with an average weight of approximately 1kg.

“The incident comes in addition to the temporary challenges due to maturation and contractor workmanship but will not affect the continuity of supply to customers,” wrote Atlantic Sapphire.