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Record profits for Scottish salmon firm

Marine Harvest Scotland has announced record profits as exports of Scottish farmed salmon continue to grow, despite a challenging year for fish health.

The Marine Harvest group achieved an operational EBIT of €181 million in the fourth quarter of 2017. Overall the 2017 EBIT was €792 million, which is the highest ever year results performance in the history of the Group.

Ben Hadfield, Managing Director of Marine Harvest (Scotland) Ltd, said: “Despite a challenging year for fish health we produced record results in Scotland. My thanks go to our hard working employees across the west coast and Highlands and Islands.”

A key factor in the excellent financial outcome has been the quality and size of the salmon grown by the company. More than 96 percent of the salmon produced has been rated as superior quality, which attracts higher prices.

The report states that, despite challenging biological conditions, there has been positive health improvements. It said: “The general fish health situation improved for our Scottish operations during the three first quarters of 2017. The sea lice levels at the end of the quarter were lower that at the end of the comparable quarter of 2016.”

The company attributes the increased use of wrasse and lumpsuckers as cleanerfish has helped reduce sea lice levels. Other measures include the use of a thermolicer, skirts around the salmon farm nets and the hydrolicer which removes lice from the environment with the help of gentle water pressure.

Marine Harvest Scotland’s workforce also benefitted from staff bonuses paid relative to the company’s performance and targets. The firm’s salary bill for 2017 reached £47 million.

Overall Scotland’s salmon farming industry reported record exports of £600 million for 2017.  As the demand for salmon grows worldwide Marine Harvest continues to invest in new farms to meet demand. Approval was recently granted for a new high energy farm off the coast of Rum.  

The company is currently constructing a new £93 million fish feed plant at Kyleakin quarry on Skye and a £26 million salmon hatchery is due for completion in March at Inchmore in Glenmoriston. 

Rob Fletcher

Rob Fletcher

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