Huon Aquaculture 'positioned to almost double production'

Picture: Brodie Weeding.
Picture: Brodie Weeding.

Salmon farmer Huon Aquaculture is positioned to almost double its production capacity in the next three to five years.

That is according to chairman Neil Kearney.

"At the same time, our development of industry leading facilities such as Whale Point - the largest on-land grow-out facility in the Southern Hemisphere - and technology, such as the fortress pens that allow safe, sustainable farming of high energy sites offshore, means we are also creating a much more resilient business," Mr Kearney said in an address prepared for the company's annual meeting in Hobart on Wednesday.

He said the company had a clear strategy for growth and was delivering against that strategy.

The $43.7 million Whale Point nursery at Port Huon allows the company to grow salmon bigger on land than previously before putting them out to sea.

The fortress pens were developed to keep salmon safe from seals.

Picture: Brodie Weeding.

Picture: Brodie Weeding.

Huon had a difficult 2018-19 financial year, largely due to moon jellyfish harming salmon, plus extended warm water temperatures.

Revenue fell by $35.9 million to $282 million and net profit after tax slumped from $26.4 million to $9.5 million.

Chief executive and managing director Peter Bender said: "Huon Aquaculture's disappointing financial year performance ... is a reminder, not that we particularly need reminding, of the influence that natural events can have over our business."

"That no matter how hard we work to plan for and mitigate its effects, sometimes we are outplayed.

"Our results reflect the short-term operational costs of managing such an event and the ongoing impact on fish growth through the remainder of the year."

Mr Bender said salmon industry fundamentals supported Huon's strategy of expanding its capacity to service growing domestic demand.

"Having completed the second of two major efficiency and expansion programs, we now have in place a platform that will deliver a sustainable reduction in costs beyond financial year 2020," Mr Bender said.

He said the trading environment in the first quarter of the current financial year had been challenging because of a better than expected season in other growing regions increasing supply.

He described it as a "short-term aberration" and said there was good reason to be optimistic earnings would recover strongly this financial year, assuming no abnormal weather or biological events.

This story Huon Aquaculture 'positioned to almost double production' first appeared on The Examiner.