The fu­ture is farmed…one day

Fish Farmer - - Loch Duart at 20 -Cleaner fish -

THE Loch Duart cleaner fish team said it would wel­come the of­fer of some con­tract grown wrasse from one of the cur­rent pro­duc­ers.

‘Ul­ti­mately, the aim for the in­dus­try has to be self-suf­fi­ciency in farmed bal­lan wrasse, al­though we know this process is in its in­fancy,’ said Lewis Ben­nett.

Bal­lan wrasse that are bred are very dif­fer­ent to those from the wild, which tend to be quite no­madic and move around the pens con­fi­dently, he said.

‘The ones that come from the hatch­ery seem rel­a­tively soft, timid and re­quire dif­fer­ent ac­cli­ma­ti­sa­tion to their wild coun­ter­parts.

‘We have been told they don’t cope well with strong tides or large wa­ter ex­change; of course, they have been raised in a tank with lit­tle vari­a­tion.’

There is farmed wrasse pro­duc­tion at Machri­han­ish in Camp­bel­town, funded by Mowi and Sc­cot­tish Sea Farms, and Mowi is also de­vel­op­ing a wrasse fa­cil­ity in Pen­mon, An­gle­sey, on the site of a for­mer sea bass farm.

Ot­ter Ferry, mean­while, on Loch Fyne, is ex­pand­ing its wrasse hatch­ery, which is ex­pected to dou­ble cur­rent ca­pac­ity. ‘We have vis­ited Ot­ter Ferry and it was very im­pres­sive to see the strides made over the last three years,’ said Ben­nett.

Scot­tish self-suf­fi­ciency is still some way off, Ben­nett be­lieves, and the over re­liance on wild caught fish will con­tinue for some time yet.

‘There will never be a clear cut-off from wild sup­ply be­cause any mor­tal­ity in farmed fish may leave the in­dus­try short, and there would be a need for the numbers to re­place them.

‘If you have a low con­fi­dence in the farmed and higher in the wild, you will need a tran­si­tion phase and bet­ter ef­fi­cacy of farmed wrasse.

‘Un­til then, one can­not com­pletely rule out the wild stock be­ing re­quired.’

Above: Wrasse. Right: Lump­fish. Above: Wrasse

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