standing salmon biomass

Standing salmon biomass – the break down

A report on the standing salmon biomass (Atlantic) in Norway is published once a month by Sjømat Norge and Kontali (between 20th and the 30th in the month).

With these reports it is possible to update projections of future harvest volumes. I like to decompose the standing salmon biomass into generations. It gives me valuable information about the number of fish individuals (units), the weight and the total biomass (units multiplies with average weight) in each generation.

The break down of the most recent salmon biomass report is  seen in the below table (updated 1 October 2015).

GenerationFishWeightVolume
13G1,0005.35,000
14G204,0002.7545,000
15G196,0000.591,800
Total401,0001.6641,000

GenerationFishWeightVolume
13G-20%-3%-22%
14G+1%-2%-2%
15G+1%+2%+3%
Total+1%-3%-2%

 

As I mentioned above, the biomass in Europe has a S-curve, which is at its lowest in May/June and at its peak in October. Due to constraints, also called the maximum allowed biomass (MAB), the biomass cannot exceed at certain limit. With the new licenses, this limit is just above 800,000 tonnes.

As can be seen from the chart below, farmers have become better at utilising the MAB over the years. With the implementation of the 45 new green licences, the MAB limit will increase to around 825,000 tonnes going forward.

Since 2012, farmers have been so close to the biomass limit in the fall that it has become difficult to grow much more.

This is one of the reasons why the Norwegian government has increased the capacity in Norway with 45 new licences, or ~30,000 tonnes MAB.

I have split Norway into seven different regions. As can be seen below, the largest regions are Nordland, Trøndelag and Hordaland.

 Salmon biomass – county by county

How the MAB is utilised throughout Norway is also a signal on where we should expect growth in the coming years.  I show this next and the salmon biomass data is from the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries (published every month).

In Finnmark, farmers have become better at utilising the MAB from year to yearm but there is still room to grow within the existing MAB framework.

 

In Troms, there is also room to grow within the existing MAB framework. However, recently, farmers have come very close to the MAB limit in the late fall.

 

In Nordland, farmers are producing close to the MAB limit in large parts of the year. The room for growth is very limited unless the MAB limit is increased, i.e. by awarding new licences.

 

In Trøndelag and Møre and Romsdal, farmers are producing close to the MAB limit. The room for growth is very limited unless the MAB limit is increased, i.e. by awarding new licences.

 

In Sogn og Fjordane og Hordaland, farmers are producing close to the MAB limit. The room for growth is limited unless the MAB limit is increased, i.e. by awarding new licences.

 

In Rogaland and Agder, there is also room to grow within the existing MAB framework. However, recently, farmers have come very close to the MAB limit in the late fall.

Some key points to remember about biomass
  1. The three most important indicators on future harvest quantities are standing biomass, feed sales and smolt release. These three are good indicators on medium term and long term harvest. The best short term indicator is standing biomass. Read more in MHG Industry Handbook 2013.
  2. Because of the variation in sea water temperatures during the year, the total standing biomass in Europe has a S-curve, which is at its lowest in May and at its peak in October. The Norwegian industry is focused on minimizing the natural fluctuations as license constraints put a limit to how much biomass can be in sea at the peak of the year.
  3. At the end of 2013, there were 959 seawater licenses in Norway. One license is set to a maximum allowed biomass (MAB) of 780 tonnes (900 tonnes in Troms and Finnmark). Most Norwegian fish farming sites have between 2 340 and 3 120 tonnes allowed maximum standing biomass.
  4. Because of the regulation of standing biomass (maximum allowed biomass – MAB) per licence (780 tonnes LW), the production capacity per licence is limited.
  5. With no significant change to the maximum allowed biomass in Norway, the Y/Y increase in the biomass should be short-lived and already in Q4, we should expect the biomass to peak at the same level as in 2013. Therefore, for the current biomass to narrow towards the 2013 biomass, the harvested volumes must continue to increase compared to 2013.

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