More than just our name
“Loch Duart” is the name of the loch located beside our 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 and this is why our company is called Loch Duart.
Every year we collect the eggs from our spawning salmon which are then fertilised with the milt from our male salmon. Once the eggs have hardened, they are moved to the hatchery 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 eating nutrients in 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 on a specialist diet 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.
Once in their new saltwater setting, the smolts continue to be closely monitored by our team of farming experts. Welfare is monitored continually by the indispensable underwater cameras and daily sea water quality checks. Unlike most farmed salmon, Loch Duart feeds a mainly marine based diet – using sustainably caught fish. This is best for their metabolism, enhancing fish health and delivering a delicious salmon to the table. After an average of three years (one in fresh water, two years at sea) the salmon will have reached about 4 kilos each and are ready for harvest.