From egg to smolt

“Loch Duart” is the name of the loch located beside our freshwater hatchery where our salmon grow from egg to smolt. Our fish start life in our hatchery, fed by the same cold, clear water flowing into Loch Duart, which is why our company is called Loch Duart.

Every year we collect the green eggs from our spawning salmon which are then fertilised with milt from our male salmon. Once the eggs have hardened, they are moved to the hatchery and laid down for incubation.

The eggs are incubated for around five weeks until they reach the ‘eyed’ stage. After about nine weeks, the sac fry (alevins) begin to emerge from the eggs and continue to develop by absorbing nutrients from their yolk sacs. The young fry are ready to feed once their yolk sacs have almost completely disappeared.

The young fry grow quickly over the next six to ten months in the hatchery, constantly monitored, checked and fed by our expert staff. The fry grow to become parr and finally undergo developmental changes that prepare them for life in saltwater as smolts.

Once the smolts are ready for saltwater, they are transported by helicopter (the quickest, smoothest and most stress-free transportation method for the salmon) or boat to our farm sites in Sutherland and the Outer Hebrides to begin the saltwater phase of their growth.