Falling salmon prices and disease take toll

FALLING prices due to a global increase in salmon supply hit sales and profits at Marine Harvest’s Scottish operations.

The Norwegian-owned company also saw its 2012 figures affected by steps to mitigate the impact of amoebic gill disease (AGD) which has hit salmon farms across Scotland.

Turnover fell from £205.8m to £149.08m on a 20 per cent decline in volumes and 11.4 per cent drop in prices achieved. Pre-tax profits slumped from £57.2m to £17.5m, according to accounts filed at Companies House.

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The firm said that feed prices were relatively stable during the year and described underlying production performance as “encouraging” considering the risks posed by AGD.

Although prices fell, the company said they were better than had been expected due to strong underlying growth in demand.

The highest-paid director at the company received total remuneration of £252,924, up from £200,659 the previous year, and staff numbers increased by 14 to 453 in the period. Marine Harvest’s operations in Scotland include 25 sea farms on the west coast, five hatcheries and four freshwater loch sites.

Its processing plant and farm management office is in Fort William with a head office and sales function in Edinburgh.

The Marine Harvest Group, which is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, is the world’s biggest seafood company. It employs 6,200 people across operations in 22 countries worldwide.

The group supplies farmed salmon and processed seafood to customers in more than 50 markets.