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Scottish smelt production bumps up in 2014


October 23, 2015
By Quentin Dodd

Smolt production in Scotland increased to 45 million during 2014 – a rise of 11.2% compared to the previous year, according to the newly released annual Scottish Fish Farm Production Survey.

In 2014 the number of companies authorised by the Scottish government for freshwater production of Atlantic salmon decreased by one to 26. A total of 96 sites were actively engaged in commercial production, a decrease of six sites from the 2013 figure.

Production survey information was collected from all 26 companies actively involved in the freshwater production of Atlantic salmon.

Ova production

During 2014 there was a decrease in the number of ova produced by 23.4 million – to 33.5 million. The number of ova laid down to hatch increased by 6.4% to 70.8 million. The number of ova imported increased by 10.4 million from the 2013 figure, a change which highlights the trend towards using foreign ova sources, with 75.8% of the ova laid down to hatch being imported and only 24.2% derived from sources in Great Britain.

Smolt production

Smolt production increased by 4.5 million to 45 million – an increase of 11.2%, with the majority being produced as S1 smolts (49.9%).

Projections suggest that slightly fewer smolts will be produced in 2015, followed by an increase in 2016. Farmers estimate putting 43.4 million smolts to sea in 2015.

Staff and facilities

The number of staff directly employed at freshwater sites increased by 24 and productivity increased by 3.6 tonnes (2.5% ) per person to 145,600 fish per person. Although it should be noted that there are uncertainties with 2013 staff and productivity figures due to consolidation within the industry that year.

The principal types of facility used for the production of smolts in fresh water are cages or tanks and raceways.

The average stocking densities of cages increased from 56 to 65 fish per m³ in 2014 compared to 2013 while densities in tanks and raceways increased from 305 to 341 fish per m³.

Vaccines

The majority of fish were vaccinated against furunculosis and IPN, with smaller numbers of fish being vaccinated against ERM, vibriosis and SAV. A total of 44.7 million fish were vaccinated across 56 sites.