Healthiest fish yet at Scottish salmon farms
SCOTLAND’S two leading salmon farmers, Marine Harvest Scotland and Scottish Sea Farms, have reported a sustained improvement in fish health during the first five months of 2018 with a marked reduction in disease related mortalities.
Figures for both salmon farmers show that the number of fish that died as a result of disease fell by more than 50 per cent between January and May compared with the previous six months.
Disease related mortality is also lower year on year, with Marine Harvest Scotland and Scottish Sea Farms reporting a reduction of 61 per cent and 27 per cent respectively compared with the first six months of 2017.
The improvement comes as welcome news following a challenging year for some farms owing to warmer than average sea surface temperatures that can encourage marine organisms to thrive.
Both producers have invested in new technologies including environmental data monitoring equipment; underwater camera systems enabling farm- ers to observe salmon within the pens and respond quickly to any changes in behaviour; and innovative new netting which, has helped eliminate gill disease.
Changes have also been made to farm management strategies.
Both producers are also investing in multi-million pound state-of-the-art hatcheries which will enable smolts to be grown to a larger, more robust size, thereby shortening their time at sea and lessening the chance of infection.
Marine Harvest Scotland and Scottish Sea Farms have both seen significantly lower lice levels from January to May 2018.
In the case of Marine Harvest, sea lice levels were 49 per cent lower compared with the previous six months, while Scottish Sea Farms were 34 per cent lower.
The results are equally encouraging across the sector as a whole, with Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation figures showing that sea lice levels are at their lowest since July 2013.