Lochailort hatchery promises major gains
THE new Lochailort hatchery is the latest chapter of a story which began several years earlier. It has long been known that salmon grow faster in warmer water. In 1989, a water heating plant was installed at Inchmore hatchery to provide around a third of the tanks with water up to 7oC warmer than the ambient water temperature.
That wasn’t much of an increase, but it allowed Marine Harvest to produce bigger fry, which were 25 per cent larger as smolts when they went to sea after being first fed. In turn, these larger smolts produced more tonnes for harvest and made a useful contribution to the overall improvement in the company’s performance. But it soon became apparent that more was needed.
Marine Harvest concluded that development within a separate building would be preferable and, to save valuable capital, decided to use the redundant fish processing building at Lochailort. They decided to use IAT of Humberside’s Bluewater recirculation equipment, allowing them to reuse over 95 per cent of their water – which would be sterilised on entering the facility, with temperature and light being controlled to grow fish to a predictably large size in the best possible disease-free conditions.