HEALTHY FISH, HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT

Tessa holding ballan wrasse, Loch Kannaird

Tessa holding ballan wrasse, Loch Kannaird

As farmers, we are guardians of the natural environment. Our livelihoods depend entirely on caring for the waters where our salmon grow.

We have successfully grown salmon in the same sea lochs since 1977 in harmony with many other local users and the local environment, including a designated Scottish Nature Reserve.

The Right Feed — Reducing Pressure on Wild Fish Stocks

Care for the fish and the environment is evident in our salmon’s feed. They eat a custom diet containing trimmings of fish for human consumption that were landed in the northeast Atlantic.

Because of this custom feed, Wester Ross salmon have one of the world’s best FIFO (fish in, fish out) ratios of less than 1:1, greatly reducing dependency on wild fish.

Skretting, our feed producer, have developed a fishmeal specifically for us and our requirements using offcuts from the filleting process of fish caught in the North-east Atlantic and bound for human consumption. This has brought our FIFO ratio to less than 1:1. Ths FIFO ratio is the 'Fish In; Fish Out' ratio which means that to produce 1kg of salmon less than 1kg of caught fish was used to feed it. We are looking at ways to reduce this further but this is significantly lower than fish on a Label Rouge Diet whose FIFO ratio is ~3.29:1.

Importantly, no growth promoters or chemical supplements are used.

Local Ecosystem

Our sites are monitored on a continual basis for environmental impact, with formal measuring of seabed impact taking place on an annual basis. Local fishermen are even enjoying the benefits of our activity as the areas close to the salmon pens providing ideal sheltered areas for wild fish and shellfish stock enhancement. Hence, when the sites are moved, the fishermen experience good catches.

We have worked closely with many river owners to enhance the Wild Salmon stocks in local rivers. By providing a year round supply of consistent quality Scottish Salmon, we are reducing the demand for the scarce Wild Salmon where stocks are depleting.

Hand-Rearing

Hand rearing means that the farmers at Wester Ross Fisheries are on the water EVERY day to feed and observe the fish — no machines or cameras. This is an entirely hands-on operation.

Our salmon are fed by hand throughout their life which minimises the risk of waste feed and decreases the level of fouling of the immediate sea-floor. 

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Room to Grow Up Healthy

Low stocking densities (RSPCA stocking densities of 99% water, 1% fish) ensure that the fish have room to grow up healthy without antibiotics.

In order to facilitate the maximum water exchange, each population is moved into a clean net at 3-week to 6-week intervals during the spring/summer and winter, respectively. The vacated net is left attached to the pen but hauled clear of the water to dry naturally in the sun; allowing a thorough inspection which removes the need for using anti-foulants on our nets. Although damage to nets is rare, we further reduce the risk of salmon escaping by using smaller pens so changes in stock level and fish behaviour can be noticed quickly.

The Highest Environmental Management Standards

The farm meets ISO14001 Environmental Management standards and holds the endorsement from the Scottish Industry Code of Good Practices.