SARF SP008: Modelling of the potential for shortening the pen-based phase of the salmon ongrowing cycle

Start Date: 01/02/2014
End Date: 31/12/2014
Main Contractor(s): Cefas Weymouth Laboratory
Other Sponsor(s): A project co-funded by Marine Scotland and The Crown Estate


The main aim of this project is to develop models to assess the economics of different scenarios for salmon production in seawater that reduces the coastal net-pen phase to less than 12 months.


Objective 1: Develop, through consultation, technical and economic models for production of Atlantic salmon from the end of the freshwater nursery phase through to harvest, for a variety of scenarios:

  • Objective 1a: Identify potential systems for multiple phase models, e.g. land-based pre-production seawater phase (pump-ashore flow-through, partial recirculation, full recirculation), sheltered/coastal pen production phase, exposed/offshore pen production phase, sheltered/coastal pen finishing phase;
  • Objective 1b: Collate (and compare) data on fish performance and production in different land-based and marine systems, considering fish sizes, stocking densities, temperatures, etc;
  • Objective 1c: Collate economic data (fixed asset and operating costs) for different systems;
  • Objective 1d: Assess transport costs for movements of fish (of different sizes) between systems in different phases;
  • Objective 1e: Develop economic models for different scenarios by varying duration of each phase. Form a conceptual model (flow-chart) of salmon production and suggest functional relationships to model costs and outputs, and to implement this model in an Excel workbook.  This model will be provided as a deliverable from within the project.

 Objective 2: Consider the implications of the different scenarios in Scotland:

  • Objective 2a: Assess logistical implications to industry practices of implementing different scenarios (e.g. greater well-boat requirements; ease of production scheduling; fallowing; risks of stock loss);
  • Objective 2b: Discuss bio-security and regulatory implications of different scenarios (e.g. more fish movements; tracking of stocks; area management plans; single year classes);
  • Objective 2c: Review evidence for health and welfare implications of different scenarios (e.g. higher densities, more frequent transportation) and performance of fish moved between systems;
  • Objective 2d: Discuss potential environmental costs and benefits of different scenarios (e.g. escapees, pathogen release, interactions with wild salmonids, nutrient discharge, veterinary medicines discharge);
  • Objective 2e: Assess social implications of different scenarios (employment, health and safety, working conditions).

Objective 3: Identify environmental and locational requirements for different systems (e.g. land quantity and quality; well-boat access; wave heights and tidal currents). Discuss in terms of availability and marine spatial planning. Provide examples of potential relevance to different systems.


Objective 4: Predict requirements for different systems for production of 210,000 tonnes p.a. using different scenarios. Indicate potential for adoption of alternative structures for salmon production in Scotland, in relation to further increases in production and maintaining best practices.


Objective 5: Deliver report and Excel-based model (output of Objective 1e).