Farmed Salmon - the only industry where the worse you do, the more money you make


Does salmon have an image problem? Not just in Tasmania. During a round table discussion at the North Atlantic Seafood Forum in Bergen on Wednesday 6 March, northern hemisphere leaders came together to address the industry's image problem.

The panel included Anne Hvistendal, Global Head of Seafood at DNB, Steven Rafferty, CEO of Cermaq; Carl-Emil Kjølås Johannessen from Pareto Investment Banking; Jon Hindar, Partner at Summa Equity; and Fulco van Lede, CEO of Nutreco.

Taking the bull by the horns, Hindar expressed concern over the industry's sustainability issue. "This is the only industry when the worse you do, the more money you make," he said. "The more losses you have, the higher prices go. Social license is deteriorating."

The industry faces skepticism about its sustainability claims, and there's a pressing need for enhanced transparency, according to the former Cermaq CEO. "If we don't show tangible efforts, securing funding will become increasingly difficult. It's time industry leaders step up and acknowledge our issues, moving beyond the rhetoric of the past 15 years."

Anne Hvistendal, echoed Hindar's sentiments, stressing that welfare has been overlooked in favour of carbon cutting: "When you see the development over the past few years, it is almost unacceptable, she said. "You need to do something about this."

She highlighted DNB's role in nudging the industry towards sustainability, but said there is more to do. "We've facilitated over $10 billion in sustainability facilities," she noted. "While there's good progress on CO2 emissions, animal welfare and ethical considerations are lagging. It's crucial to engage not just with consumers and politicians, but with the general public on these ethical issues."

Steven Rafferty from Cermaq highlighted the producer's struggle with communications around sustainability.

"The industry has generally perhaps been too reactive," he said. "I used to say that we could learn in Canada and Chile from the Norwegian industry. over the last 18 months, I would say there has been a lot not to learn from Norway."