Bakkafrost plans to build three large energy-efficient hatcheries in Scotland to implement the company's large smolt strategy and give an annual production capacity above 18 million smolts at 500g. Having large smolt in Scotland will transform the performance, lower the biological risk and increase harvest volumes, the company said.
The ongoing expansion of the Applecross hatchery is progressing well and will reach an important milestone by the end of this year when the 4th expansion phase is expected to be completed, the company said in a report. This enables Bakkafrost to significantly improve the quality and increase the size of the smolt. In 2023, the Applecross hatchery will ramp up production to around 8 million smolts at 250g, the full capacity will be in operation in mid-2024 with an additional 40% capacity increase.
In Q2 2022, the average weight of released smolt in Scotland was 101g, which is 32% higher than in Q2 2021. New hatcheries in Scotland will increase the total production capacity up to around 18 million smolts of around 500g in 2026.
During Q1 2022, Bakkafrost secured the land for the construction of the second large hatchery in Scotland, expected to commence in H2 2022.
“Having large smolt in Scotland is vital to transform the farming operation and reduce the biological risk in Scotland,” the company said. It will however take time for Bakkafrost to materialize as it takes time to build the necessary hatchery capacity.
The company is also increasing its annual hatchery production capacity to above 23 million smolts at 500g in the Faroe Islands and investing in a broodstock facility.