Andfjord Salmon postpones stocking due to COVID complications
Andfjord Salmon reported that is has postponed its scheduled fall stocking of its Kvalnes land-based facility this year due to complication caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an announcement, Martin Rasmussen, chief executive officer of the Norwegian aquaculture company, said that smolt stocking operations have been moved to the spring of next year.
The facility is located on the eastern shores of Andøya, the northern most island of the Norwegian Arctic Archipelago of Lofoten – Vesterålen. The eastern shores of Andøya is part of Andfjorden which provides sub-surface optimum temperatures for salmon farming in the Arctic. The site has a license for 10,000 metric tons of salmon per year, with each fish weighing about four kilos.
“The economic impact of this decision is minimal. While we could have remained on schedule, we would like to give the smolt best possible living conditions,” Rasmussen said. “We will ensure that the completed facility has a sufficient period of testing.”
The latest COVID-19 response measures from the Norwegian Government have generated uncertainty concerning the initial schedule of the smolt release, according to Andfjord.
Mandatory quarantine for foreign employees reduced operation capacity to “subcontractor level,” according to the company.
“…our overall assessment determines releasing the smolt during spring 2021 as more beneficial. The salmon’s welfare is our number one priority,” said Rasmussen.
Andfjord will also expedite the construction of the salmon farming facility at Kvalnes, as well as the development of phase 2 in Kvalnes, and phase three in Fiskenes and Breivik, he said.
Upon completion of phase 2, the company will be able to release smolt during wintertime, with water intake at the depth of 160 meters, which ensures optimal winter temperatures for salmon farming. Currently, the facility only has a water intake of 30 meters.