Two mass fish farm escapes and the alleged theft of premium salmon from a Sydney plant has cost a Tasmanian aquaculture company several million dollars.
Huon Aquaculture in late November lost roughly 50,000 adult salmon from a pen in the island state’s south after an electrical fire melted part of the enclosure.
About a week later, 130,000 500g salmon, an entire pen, swam free at a separate farm after a net was torn during cleaning operations.
In January, five employees were charged with stealing about 250 tonnes of premium salmon from a processing facility at Ingleburn in Sydney’s southwest.
The group is accused of falsely downgrading an average of 600kg in salmon a day as waste across six months, then removing the fish from the plant and selling it privately.
In a statement provided to the stock exchange on Tuesday, Huon said the salmon escapes cost the company $1.8 million but wouldn’t impact overall harvest volumes this financial year.
As a result of the alleged criminal activity, the company’s book value of inventory and gross margins are estimated to be $2.1 million lower, it says.
Huon estimates its operating earnings this financial year will be “substantially lower” than the $47.3 million recorded last financial year amid a fall in salmon prices.