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Norcod gears up for its first sales. Norcod, the Norwegian aquaculture venture, is in strong position after its first full year of operations and gearing up for its first sales of farmed cod this summer.

Highlights from the fourth quarter of 2020 include exceptional biological performance of the fish, getting a second production cycle underway with the transfer of a new batch of fry to growth facilities, equipment and feeding barges ordered in support of ongoing production, and management changes that put the company on the road to achieving new milestones.

“We are in a very good position to continue our planned growth according to plan,” says CEO Christian Riber. “Plus, we succeeded in keeping operating costs under budget by NOK 12m for the entire year. Our team have done a fantastic job.”

Norcod has come a long way since start-up only 18 months ago. “We have worked incredibly hard during the establishment phase, applying for licences, securing sea sites and creating an entire value chain for farmed cod from broodstock to market-ready product,” says Riber.

He emphasises that the company has not yet generated any profits because its first production cycle is still underway. The production cycle lasts around 18 months. “Obviously we haven’t made any money yet because we don’t yet have a finished product to sell. Sales income from our first production cycle will start when we start harvesting in Q3 this year, and from our second production cycle in 2022. But we are well on the way.”

Close monitoring of fish performance is core to Norcod’s daily operations, with technicians making frequent inspections of individual fish in order to map production trends. Calm behaviour and well-distributed biomass in the sea pens indicate good animal welfare, with high feed efficiency and low mortality.

“Exceptional biological performance lowers both risk and costs,” says Riber.

Norcod has access to sixth-generation cod fry that are bred for optimal health and yield. “For that we have to thank our joint-venture partner, Havlandet Norcod AS,” says Riber. “Our latest batch of fry was successfully transferred to growth facilities in the fourth quarter and they will begin the sea phase in June.”

“Norcod opted only to buy new modern equipment from the outset, which has helped to keep operating costs down. “Our use of in-house expertise related to technical site work also reduced our need to purchase external services,” says Riber.