What’s hap­pen­ing in aqua­cul­ture in the UK and around the world

Fish Farmer - - Contents – Editor’s Welcome -

SCOT­TISH salmon farm­ers pro­duced the high­est ever vol­ume of fish last year, with to­tal pro­duc­tion of 189,707 tonnes, an in­crease of 26,890 tonnes, or 16.5 per cent on 2016 fig­ures.

And farmed salmon was worth more than £1 bil­lion to the econ­omy for the first time last year, an in­crease of 37 per cent on 2016.

The level of sur­vival on farms also im­proved, up to 79.1 per cent com­pared to 73.3 per cent the pre­vi­ous year.

Fol­low­ing the pub­li­ca­tion in Oc­to­ber of the an­nual Scot­tish Fish Farm Pro­duc­tion Sur­vey, ru­ral econ­omy min­is­ter Fer­gus Ewing wel­comed the salmon in­dus­try’s suc­cess.

‘The fish farm in­dus­try forms an in­te­gral part of Scot­land’s ru­ral econ­omy – cre­at­ing jobs and pro­vid­ing cap­i­tal in some of our most ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties,’ said Ewing.

‘So it’s very en­cour­ag­ing to see salmon pro­duc­tion value on the in­crease yet again. De­mand for Scot­tish seafood has also in­creased do­mes­ti­cally in re­cent years and, through mea­sures such as the es­tab­lish­ment of the Aqua­cul­ture In­dus­try Lead­er­ship Group, we are putting in place the con­di­tions for a sus­tain­able in­dus­try that can meet fu­ture pro­jected mar­ket de­mands.

‘This in­cludes the pub-

li­ca­tion of Scot­land’s 10 Year Farmed Fish Health Frame­work which will en­sure that fish health re­mains at the heart of sus­tain­able pro­duc­tion.’

Marine salmon pro­duc­tion was un­der­taken by 12 busi­nesses farm­ing 226 ac­tive sites, ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey. This is a de­crease of three busi­nesses and 27 ac­tive site com­pared with 2016.

Fresh­wa­ter salmon pro­duc­tion was un­der­taken by 24 busi­nesses at 79 sites.The num­ber of busi­nesses op­er­at­ing de­creased by two and the num­ber of ac­tive sites de­creased by eight com­pared with 2016.

The to­tal num­ber of smolts pro­duced in 2017 in­creased by 3,258,000 (six per cent) to 46.2 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the pro­duc­tion sur­vey, pub­lished an­nu­ally.

The num­ber of ova laid down to hatch in­creased by 2.2 per cent to 65.7 mil­lion with the ma­jor­ity of these (90 per cent) be­ing de­rived from for­eign sources. In 2017, 339,000 ova were ex­ported.

Just un­der three per cent of the smolts stocked to Scot­tish salmon farms were sourced from out­with Scot­land, less than one per cent of which came from sources out­with Great Bri­tain. This was a very slight de­crease com­pared with 2016.

Pro­duc­tion fig­ures for this year are fore­cast to drop sig­nif­i­cantly, how­ever, with an in­dus­try es­ti­mate of 150,774 pro­jected ton­nage based on stocks cur­rently be­ing on-grown. The de­cline is at­trib­uted to gill health is­sues in the au­tumn of 2017.

Scot­tish Salmon Pro­duc­ers’ Or­gan­i­sa­tion chair­man Gilpin Bradley wel­comed the 2017 fig­ures.

‘Vol­umes were strong and ex­ports reached an all-time high, with sales of £600 mil­lion to more than 50 coun­tries world­wide.

‘This is tes­ta­ment to the hard work and com­mit­ment of so many ded­i­cated salmon farm­ers in the High­lands and is­lands and the global recog­ni­tion of Scot­tish salmon’s en­vi­able pre­mium mar­ket po­si­tion.

‘De­mand for qual­ity Scot­tish salmon con­tin­ues to out­strip sup­ply and the sec­tor as­pires to grow to meet de­mand, but we also recog­nise the im­por­tance of steady, sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment.

‘These new fig­ures, along­side the in­vest­ment in tack­ling emerg­ing chal­lenges, give us great con­fi­dence in the sec­tor’s abil­ity for sus­tain­able growth over the com­ing years.’

Ahead of the an­tic­i­pated dip in pro­duc­tion in 2018, the sec­tor is putting in­vest­ment in place.

There is an in­creased move to­wards the use of re­cir­cu­lated aqua­cul­ture sys­tems to en­sure the growth of more ro­bust smolts, along with the in­stal­la­tion of con­tin­u­ous en­vi­ron­men­tal mon­i­tor­ing and other cam­era tech­nol­ogy to closely mon­i­tor fish be­hav­iour at sea.

Bradley, who runs Wester Ross Salmon, added:‘Salmon farm­ers have in­vested more than £60 mil­lion in new tech­nolo­gies and im­proved farm­ing tech­niques, re­search projects and cleaner fish to re­move nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring sea lice which thrive in the warmer tem­per­a­tures.

‘Farm­ers con­tinue to work hard to im­prove fish health and salmon sur­vival and we are see­ing ben­e­fits com­ing from the new in­no­va­tions.

‘It is en­cour­ag­ing to see that the re­port con­firms an im­prove­ment in the in­dus­try’s sur­vival fig­ures as a re­sult of the on­go­ing in­vest­ment in this area.’

Farm-by-farm re­port­ing of sea lice lev­els, in­tro­duced this year, has shown that, on the whole, lice lev­els dur­ing 2018 are at a five-year low.

High­lands and Is­lands En­ter­prise re­cently re­ported that em­ploy­ment in the in­dus­try and sup­ply chain topped 10,000 full time equiv­a­lent jobs.

To read the full pro­duc­tion sur­vey, visit /www.gov.scot/ publi­ca­tions/scot­tish-fish-farm-pro­duc­tion-sur­vey-2017

Above: Gilpin Bradley

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