Semi-closed farming systems look much like conventional pens from above. But under the water they have an opaque, impermeable outer barrier that surrounds the fish net.
Waste and uneaten food cannot flow into the surrounding water, instead gathering at the bottom of the enclosure where it is collected, brought ashore and treated.
To replace the normal high flow of water through the net, clean, cold water is continuously pumped through the enclosure from deep below the surface. Oxygen is added to the water providing perfect conditions for the farmed fish.
This technology is absolutely proven and although we plan to be the first to deploy in Scotland, this technology has been developed in Norway over decades leading to commercialisation of many models that are available today.
The first semi-closed systems were designed in Norway in the late 1980’s and deployed in the early 1990’s where some farmers as well as research facilities were trialling the concept in an attempt to provide a better rearing environment for farmed salmon.
Thousands of tonnes of salmon have been successfully grown in these enclosures. These have been operated by a number of companies in Norway, and now the Faroes and Canada. All have reported elimination of sea lice treatments. All have continued to use these systems and to increase their use.
Independent research has confirmed that semi-closed systems eliminate sea lice and improve fish welfare and performance.
We are committed to working closely and constructively with the community and being a responsible neighbour. Each farm will create approximately 12 to 16 permanent full-time equivalent posts per farm and we will utilise and procure from local supply chains as far as possible.
Loch Long Salmon will also implement a community benefit fund to support local priorities and needs.
Our objective is to change salmon farming for good to address perceived and real concerns regarding the farming of salmon in their natural environment. Feed is a critical part of the farm’s overall sustainability.
At Loch Long Salmon we will use strict feed ingredient sourcing options that will result in a diet that:
On a conventional salmon farm, residues from medicinal sea lice treatments can be found in 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. We will also be capturing, removing and utilising faeces and uneaten feed preventing it being released into the loch.
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.
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 predators such as seals or birds. 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.