Mowi Ireland boss said that if it can’t grow the business then investments will be channelled to different countries.
Leading Mowi Ireland, the world’s leading supplier of farm-raised organic salmon, MD Jan Feenstra told SalmonBusiness that licences are still the question when it comes to advancing the industry.
Earlier on Monday, it was reported that said the salmon farmer would invest EUR 22 million on new sites. Ireland is a clear success story for Mowi when it comes to salmon with consistently high EBITS.
But following up, Feenstra said:”We can’t speak for the Dept. but from our perspective, there has been no progress on salmon aquaculture licensing; when we can’t grow the business in Ireland then the investments are channelled to different countries.
“We just need to be given the opportunity to add a few farms to secure the business and make us big enough to compete in Europe on a level playing field,” he said.
If the investment is secured, the cash would be used on additional salmon farms. With each new site representing an investment of working capital of around EUR 6 million and EUR 7 million.
“Our processing capacity still outstrips our production and that is one of our major challenges especially for our colleagues working in processing, it tends to be stop-start and that makes for personal uncertainty; we would like to operate 50 weeks in the year, also to do better and be more reliable in the market,” he added.
The MD said that the industry had performed well during the pandemic thanks to the demand of high-quality Smoked Irish Organic salmon smoked by Mowi Ireland’s various customers in Ireland and Continental Europe.
“Touch wood, we have weathered the CV Storm, but it is not over and we do miss the HORECA (hotels, restaurants and catering sectors) market,” said Feenstra – who has been with the salmon farmer since 1983.
He said that felt that Irish salmon farming needed the political will in order to help it expand.
“Hence we hope that in spite of there being (in the new government) no dedicated Minister or Junior M focusing on the Marine sector, that the DAFM will nevertheless improve on its inability to deliver licenses,” concluded Feenstra.