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Gill health issues hit Loch Duart's profits

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Gill health challenges dented the profits of Loch Duart, the independent salmon farming company, in the latest tax year.

Its most recent accounts show that Sutherland-based company had a pre-tax profit of £1.1 million in the 12 months ended 31 March 2019, down from £2.6 million in the same period of 2017/2018. Turnover was £34.6, compared to £42.4 million in 2017/2018.

A statement from the company noted: “Loch Duart continued to invest heavily in research and development to improve its strong aquaculture farming track record – specifically, investment in farming infrastructure and people development.

“Now in its 20th year, Loch Duart continues to record a highly creditable environmental performance in its small-scale farming methodology. Highly innovative solutions were invested in to face the gill health challenge – for the next year and future years.

“During 2018/19 increasing gill health challenges – exacerbated by the long hot summer of 2018, with negligible rainfall – affected the performance at one of its farm sites in particular. This impacted turnover for the financial year.

“Reduced pre-tax profits reflect this and budgeted-for, reduced harvest volumes which were a natural consequence of stocking plans made to place the company in a better position to grow its volume in future years, whilst maintaining the standards of welfare and quality which customers have come to value in the brand.”