Loch Long Salmon

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Loch Long Salmon is a low-impact salmon farming company dedicated to environmental stewardship and animal welfare.

We want to change salmon farming in Scotland for good and hope to open our first farm in 2023.

We will be the first salmon farmer in Scotland to use semi-closed systems. 

These systems eliminate sea lice and capture, remove, and reuse almost all the solid waste. This can then then be used in anaerobic digesters for green energy production – allowing our fish farming system to contribute to Scotland’s circular economy.

© 2021 Loch Long Salmon. All rights reserved.

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An evolution of aquaculture

For decades conventional salmon farms have used open pen nets. This proven method has produced healthy, low-carbon protein for Scotland and the world for decades. Famers using conventional open net pens must manage and mitigate several challenges. These include fish health issues such as sea lice, environmental disruption, and predators such as seals.  

At Loch Long Salmon we want to take a new approach and believe prevention is better than cure. This will be achieved using semi-closed farming systems. These systems are already deployed in farms in Canada and Norway but Loch Long Salmon will be the first company to use them in Scotland.


Sea lice never enter our nets

Sea lice are a naturally occurring marine organism found in oceans and lochs. In open net farms juvenile sea lice living in the first few metres of water, attach themselves to the salmon. They can grow and spread to other fish, harming our stock and dispersing into the surrounding environment, affecting wild fish.

Conventional salmon farmers go to great lengths to control sea lice. This includes chemical treatments, chemical or freshwater baths, physical removal by water jets or brushes, and control by ‘cleaner fish’ which feed on sea lice.

At Loch Long Salmon, semi-closed systems will circulate water from deep in the loch where lice and parasites do not live, so they never enter the enclosure with our salmon.  Loch Long Salmon will prevent the problem rather than incurring the high costs of treatment. As a result, there will be no damage to the loch water from treatments nor will wild fish be at risk.

Loch Long Salmon is so confident about the efficacy of the semi-closed system that we will not be applying for a license to use any of these chemical treatments for sea lice.

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Scottish aquaculture must innovate

As Scotland’s largest food export, Scottish farmed salmon is a huge part of the economic success and international recognition of Scotland’s iconic food and drink sector.  Even more significantly Scottish salmon farming is a cornerstone of the communities that host the farms, providing quality year-round jobs and community investment as well as support for many local ancillary businesses.

Salmon farming sustains people and their communities in many remote coastal areas of the country. Loch Long Salmon recognises the problems faced by conventional open net salmon farmers and the resultant criticisms that are inhibiting sustainable growth.

Semi-closed salmon farming is part of the innovation that is needed in providing an effective solution which will allow Scottish communities to enjoy the economic and social benefits of salmon farming without harming the environment.

If Scotland does not embrace semi-closed technology one alternative could be the creation of on-land recirculating aquaculture systems that are currently being investigated and built in some parts of the world. But these systems are not reliant on loch water so they are being built nearer population centres, energy supplies and transport hubs such as ports and airports. This type of on land farming technology will not be built in rural parts of Scotland and these areas would lose the high-quality jobs which salmon farming currently supports.  Scotland would also lose an iconic product and its largest food export.

The Scottish Government and regulators need solutions which properly balance the desire to protect local economies with the imperative of protecting the environment.

Beinn Reithe

Stewart Hawthorn
Director, Loch Long Salmon

Stewart has worked for more than 30 years in senior aquaculture leadership roles in Scotland, Canada, and New Zealand. He has been responsible for freshwater recirculating aquaculture systems, marine farming systems and complex breeding improvement programmes. 

Stewart led the commercial operations for Grieg Seafood in North America, including the development of a successful and award-winning super-premium branded salmon, Skuna Bay Salmon.  He is currently Owner and Director of Trimara Services UK Ltd, an aquaculture equipment and services company supporting customers in Scotland and internationally.


Christoph Harwood
Director, Loch Long Salmon

Christoph is Managing Director and a founder of Simply Blue Aquaculture, which was established in 2018 with a view to developing new salmon farming models in Scotland.  He is also a Director of Simply Blue Group.

As a Director of Loch Long Salmon, Christoph brings extensive experience from the marine energy sector. Having held senior positions in environmental finance and tidal energy technology businesses, Christoph also brings experience of working in start-ups and knowledge of key environmental issues.  

Mark Shotter
Project Manager, Simply Blue Aquaculture

Mark is the Project Manager for Planning, Consenting, and Engineering of our low-impact, semi-closed sites for Loch Long Salmon.

Mark has a passion for sustainability and the ocean environment. He has worked as a project manager in energy, engineering, and the marine sector in several challenging locations around the world.

For further information, or to speak to our team, please get in touch:

E  info@lochlongsalmon.com
T  0131 618 6497

Loch Long Salmon Ltd, 21 Young Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4HU

For illustrative purposes only.

Loch Long Salmon’s application for planning permission will consist of marine components and shore base components.

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Semi-closed farming systems look much like conventional pens from above. But under the water they have an opaque, impermeable outer barrier that surrounds the fish net.  

Waste and uneaten food cannot flow in to the surrounding water, instead gathering at the bottom of the outer net where it is collected, brought ashore and treated.

To replace the normal high flow of water through the net, clean, cold water is continuously pumped through the enclosure from deep below the surface. Oxygen is added to the enclosures via pipework from the shorebase.

How do semi-closed salmon farms work?

We protect wild fish

Because sea lice do not enter our enclosures, a Loch Long Salmon semi-closed farm will eliminate any potential harm to wild salmon and sea trout from these parasites.

Furthermore, the secondary impermeable barrier which surrounds our net further reduces the risk of any escapes from our farms. This minimises the risk of any interactions between our farmed fish and wild fish.  

Growing healthier fish

Fish are healthiest when left undisturbed in the water. The methods of treating sea lice often harm the farmed fish, either weakening them through medicinal treatments or the additional handling required.  

Being handled by farmers and then chemically treated, brushed, or bathed creates stress and causes scale, skin and mucus loss and damage.  

Because Loch Long Salmon's semi-closed system prevents sea lice from entering the farming enclosure it removes the need for sea lice control. This means that our salmon will be healthier and enjoy higher welfare than salmon grown on a conventional open net farm.

Protecting surrounding water and seabed

On a conventional salmon farm, residues from medicinal sea lice treatments can be found in the wider marine environment.  

Loch Long Salmon will not apply for a license to use any of these treatments. As a result, our farms will not discharge any residue that could damage the surrounding water quality for other marine life.

The water quality, flow rate, oxygen saturation and temperature regulation of a semi-closed system allows for more fish to be grown per volume of water. This means our farms will grow healthier fish in fewer farming enclosures compared to existing conventional open net pen systems. This significantly reduces the visual impact and area required by our salmon farms.

Fish safe from predators

Conventional salmon farms often suffer significant attacks by predators such as seals or birds.  This damages equipment, reduces economic performance and causes escapes of farmed fish that can allow interactions with wild fish.

As a result, conventional farms have used Acoustic Deterrent Devices (ADDs) to deter seals and keep them away from farms but such devices could harm dolphins, whales and porpoises.  

Seals are visual predators – if the seals can’t see the salmon, they won’t attack. Because the outer barrier around our nets is opaque, seals cannot see the fish swimming inside so will not attack.  As a result, we will have no need for ADDs and will never use them.  

Loch Long Salmon has submitted a planning application to the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority to open its first farm, which will be in the upper reaches of Loch Long. Should planning permission be approved we expect our Beinn Reithe Fish Farm will be operational in 2023.

Detailed information on our proposal can be seen on the dedicated website 

Loch Long Salmon is a joint venture between Simply Blue Aquaculture, Trimara Services and Golden Acre Foods.

Our team, and our contact details, are:

Contact details

Images courtesy of Aquaculture Alliance

When Scotland started farming salmon 50 years ago, there was no awareness whatever of climate change. Instead, farming salmon was primarily to meet a growing demand for healthy protein.

While providing healthy proteins remains a global priority, people, governments and businesses agree that it must be achieved in a way which reduces carbon and creates a circular economy that is sustainable, green, and inclusive.  

Farmed fish have by far the 
lowest greenhouse gas emissions of all farmed animals, as well as the best food conversion ratio.

Growing food that doesn’t harm the climate

Creating a Circular Economy

A study by Zero Waste Scotland identified that organic matter collected from fish farms could be used as a fertiliser ingredient for land-based farms or in anaerobic digesters for green energy production. A Loch Long Salmon farm using a semi-closed system will make this aspiration a reality and allow fish farming to contribute to Scotland’s circular economy.

The impermeable outer barrier which surrounds each of our nets collects over 85% of the solid waste in the form of uneaten food and fish waste.  

Instead of this waste collecting on the seabed, it will be pumped to shore, treated and become a valuable resource. We will remove this waste to be processed and turned into a green resource, increasing Loch Long Salmon’s economic efficiency, reducing our environmental impact and contributing to the circular economy.  

The expanding global population is inextricably linked to the climate crisis: people need protein and now want healthier protein rich in marine Omega-3 oils.

With Loch Long Salmon’s additional focus on protecting water quality, wild fish and mammals and creating a Circular Economy within the sector, the case for semi-closed systems being at the forefront of future food production is even more compelling.

Invest in the future of Aquaculture

Loch Long Salmon is a Joint Venture between three partners, Simply BlueGolden Acre Foods and Trimara. Because of the high capital costs and long timescales to start a salmon farm, investment from an early stage 
was key.

As we grow, we are looking for additional investors to come with us on our exciting journey to create a new Scottish salmon brand and change salmon farming in Scotland for good, through leadership and the demonstration of what is possible.

Semi-closed farming systems cost more to build and operate but have significantly reduced costs by eliminating sea lice treatment costs, improving yield through increased fish welfare and reduced mortalities. Because of the improved control the risk of unexpected events is also reduced meaning that semi closed systems offer a more reliable return on investment.  The overall cost of production is competitive with conventional farms.

Additionally, our sustainable approach will create a unique brand, adding further value to our product because of the way our salmon has been grown. As a result, fish raised in our semi-closed systems will attract a price premium ensuring a sustainable financial return as well as an improved environmental performance.

As the industry continues to progress, farming systems that prevent problems and address concerns will find favour with regulators, making them a safer investment with a more stable future and prospects for returns.