Øystein Hermansen and Audun Iversen maintain that sea lice and feed are significant reasons for the increase in costs for producing salmon. Photo: Jon-Are Berg-Jacobsen © Nofima

Project Year 2015

High cost in salmon production

Costs in salmon farming have increased significantly in recent years. Higher feed prices and sea lice are mostly to blame.

From 2012 to 2014 production costs increased by five kroner a kilo. In 2014 one kilo of slaughtered salmon cost approx. NOK 28.50 to produce.

Nofima and Kontali have studied the cost drivers in salmon farming on behalf of the Fishery and Aquaculture Industry Research Fund (FHF). All costs are increasing, but costs are mainly increasing due to increased feed costs and costs for the prevention and treatment of sea lice problems.

The feed price has increased due to a weaker currency and higher raw material prices. The economic feed conversion ratio has also increased, due to increased mortality and the increased size of dead fish.

The costs for controlling sea lice levels and prevention have increased, but the greatest cost is incurred when fish have to be treated for sea lice. In recent years the industry, due to resistance towards certain sea lice treatments, has had to return to hydrogen peroxide for delousing. This method is far more expensive due to more costly materials and more labour-intensive operations. Treatment-related mortality in large fish is also an important factor in increased costs.

“We estimate that the sea lice problem has cost the industry NOK 3-4 billion in 2014. In addition there are costs as a result of lost growth and a poorer feed conversion ratio,” says researcher Audun Iversen with Nofima.

The industry wants to depart from costly treatment, and focus on prevention is increasing.

Wage costs are also increasing, both because work input for control and own operations are increasing, but not least because hired labour for sea lice treatment, cleaning nets and other specialized services are increasing. With a production that no longer is growing, wage costs are also increasing due to general wage increases.

The project also discusses the significance of cost-driving regulations and how costs and regulations impact the future competition situation for the industry. The project discusses the use of resources in terms of administration, application processes, environmental surveys and certification, and in particular costs, advantages and disadvantage of the stringent sea lice policy.

Kontali Analyse AS

The Norwegian Seafood Research Fund (FHF)

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