Salmon farm worker testing water

Combatting soaring water temperatures in the North Atlantic

graeme Blog

Loch Duart shares five bespoke approaches to tackling climate change challenges.

Loch Duart Salmon is renowned for rearing the best tasting salmon on the North West Coast of Scotland. However, like other farms raising salmon in these waters we are deeply concerned about the rising water temperatures in the North Atlantic, driven by climate change. This changing marine environment poses a significant challenge to Scottish salmon farmers.

Over the past decade our farm team has observed a consistent and worrying rise in sea temperatures across all our sites in both Sutherland and the Outer Hebrides. In response to these climate challenges, Loch Duart has been taking proactive measures to adapt to and mitigate the impact of rising water temperatures.

Mark Warrington, Loch Duart Managing Director, said:

“As a responsible salmon farm, we recognise the importance of addressing climate change and its impact on the environment where we live and work. Loch Duart Salmon remains dedicated to developing innovative solutions to ensure the long-term sustainability of our farms. Industry critics often point to mortality numbers in fish farming yet ignore the fact that the environment at sea has changed fundamentally for all marine species, including wild salmon, in recent decades.”

For over a decade Loch Duart has observed an increase in the frequency of algal blooms, influxes of jellyfish, environmentally induced gill disease and the encroachment of oceanic species in farming locations. The growth of these naturally occurring phenomena can have a devastating impact on fish health and survival.

Loch Duart is taking 5 bespoke approaches to face the challenges of climate change.

  1. Broodstock: All Loch Duart farms benefit from their natural, Scottish strain broodstock programme. This has been proven to deliver salmon which are more resilient to the changing marine conditions than other farmed stocks and produces a superior product.
  2. Cleanerfish: Their industry leading cleanerfish programme continues to combat the naturally occurring parasites that thrive in warmer water conditions and threaten salmon’s health.
  3. Improving their salmon’s environment: Each site is equipped with an aeration system, boosting water movement and drawing cooler, more highly oxygenated water from depth. This greatly improves water quality for the fish, particularly on the calm, sunny days during the summer months.
  4. Embracing new technologies: Loch Duart also use state-of-the-art oxygen generation technology. This approach mitigates oxygen depletion events, such as those caused by algal blooms. and other harmful microscopic marine species that have only appeared in these waters in recent years.
  5. Staff training: Loch Duart places enormous importance on the training of all their staff to ensure they remain vigilant to any environmental changes. This includes learning skills like daily monitoring the presence of microscopic algae and oceanic jellyfish that can have a devastating impact on the salmon they are raising.

Mark Warrington reflects on the future for Loch Duart:

“Despite our concerns for the future of our unique business, due to rising water temperatures and their associated impacts, Loch Duart Salmon is fully committed to confronting these climate change challenges, head-on. We spare no effort to uphold the high standards of innovation, fish welfare and environmental stewardship for which we are known. Loch Duart is dedicated in our aim to continue nurturing and rearing the best tasting salmon, with the lowest possible impact on the environment.”