Salmon farmers lead the way with transparent reporting

Scotland’s salmon farmers have today (Wednesday 15th August) published monthly mortality figures on a farm-by-farm basis to increase transparency and understanding of this key sector. The data, which covers 100% of Scottish salmon farms, shows that for the first four months of this year, survival rates on farms ranged between 98.5% and 99%. Around 60% of salmon farms stocked with fish had less than 1% mortality.

The reporting is believed to be a first among all farming sectors in the UK and is at the forefront of international reporting for salmon farming globally.

Julie Hesketh-Laird, Chief Executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) explained the significance of the reports:

“The health and welfare of salmon is hugely important to salmon farmers. This regular, voluntary publication is unparalleled and sets a precedent for transparency in business reporting. It sets a base line to show future trends and currently around two-thirds of active salmon farms have 99% survival rates. We hope this will be helpful to the progress of the collaborative Farmed Fish Health Framework initiative to further improve survival of salmon.”

Scottish Government Chief Veterinary Officer, Sheila Voas, said:

“We welcome the fact that salmon farming is taking steps to be more open and transparent about the levels of mortality within the sector. Of course, what is most important is that we all work together to tackle mortality of any level, in any sector, to help reduce it to an absolute minimum. The recently published 10-year Farmed Fish Health Framework for Scotland is a progressive step towards that aim, bringing together producers, government and regulators to address the big issues in Aquaculture.”

The published figures, collated on behalf of the industry by SSPO, build on the longstanding reporting to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Marine Scotland. The new reports provide monthly farm-by-farm statistics for use by Scottish Government’s Fish Health Inspectorate and scientists. Additional information on the causes of mortality is also provided, including extreme weather incidents, jellyfish, algal blooms, marine predators and disease.

Notes to editors:

  1. The monthly reports and accompanying information are available here
  2. The industry monthly average for mortality over the first four months of 2018 is:
    • January 1.35%
    • February 0.94%
    • March 1.49%
    • April 1.32%
  3. Monthly mortalities are reported as a percentage of the total number of fish on a farm that month.
  4. Cumulative mortality is calculated for the entire production cycle and is, therefore, reported at the end of the cycle, when all fish are harvested from a farm.