Hatchery International

News & Views
Scotland reports hatchery numbers for 2012

November 12, 2013  By Siri Elise Dybal

In 2012 the number of companies authorised by the Scottish Government and actively engaged in the freshwater production of Atlantic salmon remained at 28. A total of 100 sites were actively engaged in commercial production.

In the last decade, there has been a great drop in companies and sites engaged in hatchery production in Scotland. By way of comparison, in 2004 the number of companies actively involved in freshwater production was 48, utilizing 172 sites.

Increase in production

However, smolt production did increase in 2012, by 1.6% compared to 2011. The number of staff employed increased by 35, but productivity decreased by 9.3%, to a figure of 135,100 smolt produced per employee.


In 2012, production was dominated by S1 smolts, although numbers produced decreased by 4.4%. The production of S½ smolts increased by 9.1%. A small amount of S1½ smolts were produced and there was no production of S2 smolts.

Actual smolt put to sea was 41.1 million. Farmers estimate putting 28.1 million smolts to sea in 2013.

Tanks and raceways

The principal types of facility used for the production of smolts in fresh water are tanks, raceways and cages. In 2012, the number of farms using tanks and raceways increased by three and the number of farms using cages decreased by one.

In terms of volume, tank and raceway capacity increased by 2,000 m³ and cage volume increased by 24,000 m³. This resulted in a net increase in volume of 26,000 m³ available for the production of smolts in Scotland during 2012.

The average stocking densities of cages increased from 71 to 77 fish per m³ in 2012 compared to 2011 while densities in tanks and raceways decreased from 418 to 342 fish per m³.

Ova and smolt

Just over 90.4 million ova were stripped in 2012, an increase of nearly 12.3 million (15.7%) on the 2011 season.

The number of ova laid down to hatch was 63.2 million, a decrease of just over one million (2.1%) on the 2011 figure. The majority of the ova (54.9%) were derived from foreign sources this being an increase of 0.3 million (1.1%) on the 2011 figure.

The number of sites producing smolts remained at 61 in 2012. The number of sites producing less than 101,000 smolts has decreased by six while there has been an increase of ten in the number of sites producing more than 100,000 but less than one million smolts. The number of sites producing in excess of one million smolts per year has decreased by four.

Siri Elise Dybdal

Note: The graphs included with this article may be seen in the original of the article published in the November/December issue of Hatchery International.

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