Information

Scottish fish farm production survey 2018

This report is based on the returns of an annual survey questionnaire sent to all active authorised fish farming businesses in Scotland.

This document is part of a collection


2. Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) - OVA and Smolts

Production survey information was collected from all 24 companies actively involved in the freshwater production of Atlantic salmon, farming 71 active sites. This figure represents the entire freshwater industry operating in Scotland.

Company and Site Data

Table 12: Number of companies and sites in production during 2009-2018

Year No. of companies No. of sites
2009 30 105
2010 31 104
2011 28 98
2012 28 100
2013 27 102
2014 26 96
2015 25 87
2016 26 87
2017 24 79
2018 24 71

In 2018 the number of companies authorised by the Scottish Government for freshwater production of Atlantic salmon remained at 24. A total of 71 sites were actively engaged in commercial production, a decrease of eight from the 2017 figure.

Production and Staffing

Table 13: Number (000’s) of smolts produced, staff employed and smolt productivity during 2009-2018

Year Number (000’s) of Smolts produced Full-time Male Full-time Female Total Full-time Part-time Male Part-time Female Total Part-time Total Staff Productivity, 000’s smolts per person</th§>
2009 36,868 202 14 216 42 12 54 270 136.5
2010 36,872 213 20 233 42 14 56 289 127.6
2011 43,626 207 18 225 45 23 68 293 148.9
2012 44,324 218 17 235 60 33 93 328 135.1
2013 40,457 226 11 237 29 19 48 285 142.0
2014 45,004 226 18 244 42 23 65 309 145.6
2015 44,571 208 31 239 41 14 55 294 151.6
2016 42,894 225 27 252 35 7 42 294 145.9
2017 46,152 219 31 250 33 8 41 291 158.6
2018 47,097 210 29 239 30 9 39 278 169.4

Smolt production in 2018 increased by 2% compared to 2017. The number of staff employed in 2018 decreased by 13 and productivity increased by 6.8% to a figure of 169,400 smolts produced per person. Data for staffing and productivity in 2013 are shown, however, there are uncertainties with these data due to consolidation within the industry.

Smolts by Age Group

Table 14: Number of smolts (000’s) produced by type during 2009-2018

Year S1 S1½ Total
2009 13,837 23,031 0 36,868
2010 14,116 22,756 0 36,872
2011 17,233 26,393 0 43,626
2012 18,795 25,239 290 44,324
2013 19,024 21,279 154 40,457
2014 22,367 22,473 164 45,004
2015 23,850 20,711 10 44,571
2016 25,072 17,822 0 42,894
2017 28,072 18,080 0 46,152
2018 24,058 23,039 0 47,097

In 2018, there was an increase (27.4%) in the number of S1 smolts produced but a decrease (14.3%) in the number of S½ smolts produced. There was no production of S1½ smolts in 2018 and no S2 smolts produced since 2006.

Production Systems

Table 15: Number and capacity of production systems during 2014-2018

System No. of sites with system Total capacity, 000’s cubic metres
Year 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Cages 41 38 38 36 27 351 355 400 357 346
Tanks and Raceways 55 49 49 43 44 65 47 46 55 54
Total 96 87 87 79 71 416 402 446 412 400

The principal types of facility used for the production of smolts in freshwater are cages or tanks and raceways. In 2018, the number of farms using cages decreased by nine and the number of farms using tanks and raceways increased by one. In terms of volume, cage capacity decreased by 11,000 m³ and tank and raceway capacity decreased by 1,000 m³. This resulted in a net decrease in volume of 12,000 m³ available for the production of smolts in Scotland during 2018.

Table 16: Number (000’s) of smolts produced and stocking densities by production system during 2014-2018

Number of smolts produced (000’s) Stocking densities (smolts/m³)
Year 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Cages 22,816 18,135 15,884 17,207 21,771 65 51 40 48 63
All others 22,188 26,436 27,010 28,945 25,326 341 562 587 526 469
Total 45,004 44,571 42,894 46,152 47,097 - - - - -

The average stocking densities of cages increased from 48 to 63 smolts per m³ in 2018 compared to 2017, while densities in tanks and raceways decreased from 526 to 469 smolts per m³.

Ova Production

Table 17: Number (000’s) of salmon ova produced during 2009-2018

Year 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
No. of ova 91,964 91,655 78,208 57,489 56,904 33,450 11,605 13,689 12,631 15,228

In 2018, 15.2 million ova were stripped, an increase of 21% from the number of ova produced in 2017.

Table 18: Source, number (000’s), previous year’s estimate of ova laid down to hatch during 2009-2018 and projection for 2019

Year In-house broodstock Out-sourced GB broodstock GB wild broodstock Foreign ova Total Previous year's estimate
2009 17,148 20,158 65 30,200 67,571 64,693
2010 13,744 26,220 0 29,657 69,621 61,011
2011 15,664 14,630 0 34,322 64,616 54,526
2012 18,556 9,981 0 34,700 63,237 55,723
2013 16,996 8,263 0 41,315 66,573 49,249
2014 14,418 2,725 10 53,684 70,837 48,149
2015 6,479 223 10 61,463 68,175 65,284
2016 5,884 4 0 58,458 64,346 59,604
2017 6,228 360 0 59,158 65,746 60,673
2018 8,780 200 0 61,499 70,479 67,374
2019 71,571

The number of ova laid down to hatch was 70.5 million, an increase of 4.7 million (7.2%) on the 2017 figure. The majority of the ova (87.3%) were derived from foreign sources, this being an increase of 2.3 million (4.0%) on the 2017 figure. Supplies derived from GB broodstock increased by 2.4 million, a 36.3% increase on the 2017 figure. No ova from GB wild broodstock were laid down in 2018, however, in previous years the ova derived from wild stocks were generally held and hatched for wild stock enhancement by the aquaculture industry in cooperation with wild fisheries managers.

Smolts Produced and Put to Sea

Table 19: Actual and projected smolt production and smolts put to sea (millions) during 2009-2020

2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Actual smolts put to sea 38.5 38.5 42.7 41.1 40.9 48.1 45.5 43.0 46.1 45.4
Smolts produced 36.9 36.9 43.6 44.3 40.5 45.0 44.6 42.9 46.2 47.1
Estimated production 32.6 28.7 35.9 31.3 28.1 39.9 43.4 36.6 39.3 46.1 38.6 43.0
Ratio of ova laid down to smolts produced 1.8 1.9 1.5 1.4 1.6 1.6 1.5 1.5 1.4 1.5

The figure for the number of smolts put to sea includes smolts produced in England and smolts imported from elsewhere, whereas smolt production data relate only to those produced in Scotland. Smolt producers estimate putting 38.6 million smolts to sea in 2019. The ratio of ova laid down to hatch to smolts produced in 2018 was greater than the ratio in 2017.

Scale of Production

Table 20: Smolt-producing sites grouped by numbers (000’s) of smolts produced during 2009‑2018

Year Scale of production No. of sites in production Total smolts produced
1-10 11-25 26-50 51-100 101-250 251-500 501-1,000 >1,000
2009 0 0 3 7 14 18 10 12 64 36,868
2010 1 0 4 4 16 15 10 14 64 36,872
2011 1 0 4 5 11 14 9 17 61 43,626
2012 0 0 1 3 19 14 11 13 61 44,324
2013 1 0 1 7 14 14 7 14 58 40,457
2014 0 0 2 1 11 9 14 13 50 45,004
2015 1 1 2 4 9 11 16 11 55 44,571
2016 1 1 0 3 7 11 13 12 48 42,894
2017 1 0 0 2 6 11 10 15 45 46,152
2018 0 1 0 0 6 9 14 12 42 47,097

Note: These data refer only to sites producing smolts. The sites holding only ova, fry or parr are excluded.

The number of sites producing smolts in 2018 was 42. The number of sites producing less than 101,000 smolts has decreased by two and there has also been a decrease of three in the number of sites producing in excess of one million smolts per year. The number of sites producing between 101,000 and one million smolts per year increased by two.

Production of Ova and Smolt by Production Area

Table 21: Staffing in 2018, ova laid down to hatch in 2017-2018, smolt production in 2017-2018 and estimated production in 2019-2020 by region

Region Number of staff employed in 2018 Ova laid down to hatch (000’s) Smolt production (000’s) Estimated smolt production (000’s)
F/T P/T 2017 2018 2017 2018 2019 2020
North West 129 18 34,643 41,362 26,316 28,975 18,931 23,981
Orkney 1 4 159 0 145 108 140 390
Shetland 26 1 7,602 5,708 3,055 3,287 3,300 4,050
West 53 11 16,362 16,673 10,675 10,451 11,100 9,475
Western Isles 24 2 6,980 6,694 4,769 3,514 4,439 4,360
East and South 6 3 0 42 1,192 762 724 733
All Scotland 239 39 65,746 70,479 46,152 47,097 38,634 42,989

In 2018, the North West and the West were the main areas where ova were laid down to hatch. The North West and the West were the main smolt producing areas. The greatest number of staff were employed in the North West region.

Figure 2: The distribution of active Atlantic salmon smolt sites in 2018

Figure 2: The distribution of active Atlantic salmon smolt sites in 2018

International Trade in Ova

Since the introduction of the EU single market on 1st January 1993 and the associated Fish Health Regulations common to all EU member states, a trade in live salmon and ova has been established. In addition, the European Economic Area (EEA) agreement allows trade between the EU and the member states of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Trade is based on the same rules as are established within the EU regarding compartments and zones declared free from listed diseases.

Trade with Third Countries has also been established, but only from sites that have met the same health standards as are established within the EU regarding the approval of farms and zones for listed diseases. Exports to countries outside the EU are subject to the health conditions placed by the importing country. Marine Scotland Science advises potential exporters to ascertain with the importing country any specific health testing requirements that may be a condition of import.

Imports and Exports

Table 22a: Source and number (000’s) of salmon ova, fry, parr and smolts imported during 2009-2018 derived from health certificates

Import year Ova Fry, Parr and Smolts
EU Member States EFTA Total EU Member States EFTA - Norway
Iceland Norway
2009 5,460 0 29,938 35,398 328 0
2010 2,150 0 26,533 28,683 452 0
2011 3,400 0 35,851 39,251 800 0
2012 10,134 0 23,849 33,983 0 0
2013 10,700 2,719 35,044 48,463 55 0
2014 5,218 3,813 49,831 58,862 1,602 1,748
2015 4,815 8,978 45,926 59,719 2,118 365
2016 5,444 5,324 38,602 49,370 1,956 0
2017 7,000 13,883 37,025 57,908 2,012 0
2018 7,250 10,116 48,430 65,796 1,700 0

The numbers of ova imported increased by 13.6%. The number of fry, parr and smolts imported decreased from that observed in 2017, with just 1.7 million fry, parr and smolts imported from EU member states. There have been no imports from Third Countries such as the USA since 2005.

Table 22b: Destination and number (000’s) of salmon ova, fry, parr and smolts exported during 2009-2018 derived from health certificates

Export year Farmed origin ova Total Fry, Parr and Smolts
Chile EU Norway Others
2009 7,181 317 0 0 7,498 89
2010 0 189 600 0 789 130
2011 0 0 0 820 820 183
2012 0 0 0 0 0 55
2013 0 650 0 0 650 404
2014 0 0 0 0 0 259
2015 0 93 0 2 95 8
2016 0 335 0 23 358 173
2017 0 16 0 323 339 206
2018 0 23 0 0 23 71

In 2018, 23,000 ova were exported. Fry, parr and smolt exports decreased by 135,000 fish on the 2017 figure.

Vaccines

Table 23: Number of sites using vaccines and number (millions) of fish vaccinated during 2009-2018

Year 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
No. of sites 68 70 67 63 63 56 55 47 46 43
No. of fish (millions) vaccinated 39.6 42.6 49.2 48.1 47.5 44.7 48.0 42.6 58.4 51.0

Vaccines were used to provide protection against furunculosis, infectious pancreatic necrosis (IPN), ERM, vibriosis and salmonid alphavirus (SAV). 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 51.0 million fish were vaccinated across 43 sites.

Escapes

There were no escape incidents reported from sites rearing freshwater Atlantic salmon during 2018.

Contact

Email: Lorna.Munro@gov.scot

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