Scottish salmon health shows substantial improvement
Figures for both salmon farmers show that the number of fish that died as a result of disease fell by over 50 percent between January and May compared with the previous six months.
Disease-related mortality is also lower year on year, with Marine Harvest Scotland and Scottish Sea Farms reporting a reduction of 61 percent and 27 percent respectively compared with the first six months of 2017.
The sustained improvement comes as welcome news following a challenging year for some farms owing to warmer than average sea surface temperatures, leading to an increase in blooms of harmful algae and jellyfish. Changes have also been made to farm management strategies.
Both producers are also investing in multi-million pound state-of-the-art hatcheries which will enable smolts to be grown to a larger, more robust size, thereby shortening their exposure to potentially harmful marine organisms.
Meanwhile, adding to the improvement in overall fish health, Marine Harvest Scotland experienced a 49 percent drop in sea lice levels compared with the previous six months, while the levels at Scottish Sea Farms fell by 34 percent. ■