One of the key reasons No Catch failed was that British consumers were not yet ready for the premium prices of farmed cod, administrators have said.
Grant Thornton announced last week that the organic cod farming business was to be broken up, with sea farming sites sold to Scottish Sea Farms and Hjatland Seafarms UK. Talks are ongoing over the future of other parts of the business.
No Catch's premium price position was one of the key reasons for its demise, said Grant Thornton. "The consumer is not yet prepared to pay such a large premium for wild cod," added joint administrator Daniel Smith. "Cod production is in its infancy, with a great deal to be learnt about the life cycle of the cod within the waters off the Shetlands."
The company still did not have sufficient knowledge of growth curves and related feed costs, ways to reduce mortality rates, avoiding loss of biomass caused by spawning and methods of improving yields from processing, Smith said.
No Catch also had to contend with using organic feed, which costs 15%-20% more than conventional, and restricted availability of vaccines, he added. Its pre mark-up production costs were also more than double the market auction prices for wild cod.
Smith described No Catch's vision as "an ambitious plan to commercially produce organic cod on a scale not previously seen in the UK". But an inflexibility to supply all markets may have hindered the business, he suggested. "The management's business plan required the development of the No Catch brand, refusing to supply the multiple retailers with own-label produce, which would have been particularly useful in increasing volumes."
Grant Thornton is seeking buyers for the remaining parts of the business, including the Hatchery, which includes much of the intellectual property relating to organic cod farming, as well as the mussel, trout and Grading Systems businesses.