Scottish salmon farming production is forecast to drop 20.5% in 2018, year-on-year, according to the latest Marine Scotland Science fish farm survey.
The industry estimates 150774 metric tons of salmon in the lowest figure since 2018 – 2009. However the Y-o-Y drop has been exaggerated by 2017’s record output of 189707t; up 16.5%.
The Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) noted that like other farming sectors, salmon farmers must plan for and respond to environmental challenges like warmer sea water temperatures “.
Ahead of an anticipated dip in production in because of gill health issues 2018 during autumn 2017, which affected salmon due for harvest in 2018 the sector is putting, investment in place to help smooth fluctuations in production, it said.
“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 behavior once at sea”
It largely chose to focus on 2017’s production leap, which meant the sector s highest ever output. “
The official annual statistical bulletin also reports increases of just over three million smolts put to sea as well other measures of productivity. The level of survival on farms has also improved to 79.1% compared to 73.3% in the previous year, it said.”2017 was a successful year for Scottish salmon farmers. Volumes were strong and exports reached an all-time high with sales of 600m [$788m]to more than 50 countries worldwide, said Gilpin Bradley,” chairman of the SSPO.
“Demand for quality Scottish salmon continues to outstrip supply and the sector aspires to grow to meet demand, but we also recognize 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”
Salmon farmers have invested more than 60m in new technologies and improved farming techniques, research projects and cleaner fish to remove naturally occurring sea lice which thrive in the warmer temperatures, said Bradley.
“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. Farmers are leading contributors to the Scottish government s Farmed Fish Health “Framework, the ten-year strategy for continued improvement in fish health and to encourage collaboration between industry, regulators and scientists”
These investments signal optimism in a strong long-term future for farmed Scottish salmon, cemented by wider investments in the sector s supply chain such as “the 105m investment at Kyleakin, Skye where a 170000t fish feed facility and visitor centre is planned for build in 2019, said SSPO.
In 2017 there were 24 companies actively involved in the freshwater production of Atlantic salmon farming 79 active sites.
However, the number of companies authorized and actively producing Atlantic salmon in 2017 was eight, a decrease of two from 2016 said the government. Four, companies remained active and authorized, although not producing salmon for harvest in 2017.
“This continued the trend of Atlantic salmon production becoming concentrated within fewer companies the government said..”
The number of staff directly employed on the farms decreased by 55.