Atlantic Sapphire investigates forced harvest at Florida RAS facility
Details of the incident still being investigated
By Nestor Arellano
Atlantic Sapphire has reported that it “was forced to initiate an emergency harvest” at one of the grow-out systems in its land-based Atlantic salmon farm in Florida .
Nearly 200,000 fish with a total weight of approximately 400 tons are expected to be harvested from the company’s Bluehouse land-based salmon farm southwest of Miami, Atlantic Sapphire said in a news release published at the Oslo Stock Exchange.
The amount of fish harvested account for approximately 700 tons of projected harvest, or three to four weeks of U.S. phase 1 annualized revenue, according to the report . Since the permanent emergency harvest facility has not yet been completed, all the fish will not be sold, according to the company.
“The exact chain of events is still being investigated, however, disruptive construction work close to the operating environment, including loud sounds and severe vibrations, stressed the fish,” the company reported.
The COVID-19 pandemic may also have something to do with the incident but Atlantic Sapphire is ruling out disease or poisoning.
“Additionally, recent challenges of delayed construction and commissioning, in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic impact, have resulted in increased risk in the operation at this time. There is no indication of intoxication or disease being the cause of this event,” the company said.
Some of the critical components of the facility has not yet been installed and the facility is not yet fully operational. The company aims to produce 100,000 tons of salmon by 2026 and 242,000 tons by 2031 from the facility.
“This incident demonstrates the challenges of completing construction commissioning of all Bluehouse systems and support functions while in operation, but also the value and importance of having multiple independent systems to diversify biological risk. Upon final completion of the US Phase 1 facility, with the expected annual output of around 10,000 tons (HOG) salmon per year, Atlantic Sapphire will have a total of twelve independent grow-out systems in the U.S., limiting the risk and financial impact of any systemic contamination to below 10 percent of total output and revenue,” the company said.
The financial impact of this incident is still being evaluated, according to Atlantic Sapphire. The company also noted that it’s still on track for the planned first harvest in the U.S. by the third quarter of this year.