When Scotland started farming salmon 50 years ago, there was no awareness of climate change. Instead, the drive for farming salmon was primarily to meet a growing demand for healthy protein.
While providing healthy proteins remains a global priority, people, governments and businesses agree that it must be achieved in a CO2 efficient way and that creates a circular economy that is sustainable, green, and inclusive.
Farmed fish have among the lowest greenhouse gas emissions of all farmed animals, as well as the best food conversion ratio.
With Loch Long Salmon’s additional focus on protecting water quality, wild fish and mammals and creating a Circular Economy within the sector, the case for semi-closed systems being at the forefront of future salmon production is even more compelling.
On a conventional open net farm, sea lice medicines are often required to control sea lice numbers. These medicines can make their way into the wider marine environment.
Loch Long Salmon will not apply for a license to use any of these treatments. As a result, our farms will not discharge any residue that could damage the surrounding environment or other marine life.
The water quality, flow rate, oxygen saturation and temperature regulation of a semi-closed system allows for more fish to be grown per volume of water. This means our farms will grow healthier fish in fewer farming enclosures compared to existing conventional open net pen systems. This significantly reduces the visual impact and area required by our salmon farms.
A study funded by a Zero Waste Scotland grant identified that organic matter collected from fish farms could be used as a fertiliser ingredient for land-based farms or in anaerobic digesters for green energy production.
A Loch Long Salmon farm using semi-closed systems will make this aspiration a reality and allow fish farming to contribute to Scotland’s Circular Economy.
Instead of this waste collecting on the seabed, it will be pumped to shore, treated and become a valuable resource.
With Loch Long Salmon’s additional focus on protecting water quality, wild fish and mammals, and creating a Circular Economy within the sector, the case for semi-closed systems being at the forefront of future salmon production is even more compelling.
Fish are healthiest when left undisturbed in the water. The methods of treating sea lice often harm the farmed fish.
Being handled by farmers and then chemically treated, brushed, or bathed can create stress and cause scale, skin and mucus loss and damage. The chemical treatments can also cause direct damage to the farmed stock.
Because Loch Long Salmon’s semi-closed system prevents sea lice from entering the farming enclosure it removes the need for sea lice control. This means that our salmon will be healthier and enjoy higher welfare than salmon grown on a conventional open net farm.
Conventional salmon farms can suffer from significant attacks by seals. This damages equipment, reduces economic performance and causes escapes of farmed fish.
As a result, conventional farms have used anti predator nets and Acoustic Deterrent Devices (ADDs) to deter seals and keep them away from farms but such devices could harm dolphins, whales and porpoises.
Seals are visual predators – if the seals can’t see the salmon, they won’t attack. Because the outer barrier around our nets is opaque, seals cannot see the fish swimming inside so will not attack. As a result, we will have no need for ADDs or anti predator nets and will never use them.