Bill Taylor of the Atlantic Salmon Federation reports that the closed containment project we are carrying out in partnership with the Conservation Fund Freshwater Institute of Shepherdstown, West Virginia, is progressing well. Dr. Steven Summerfelt, Director of Aquaculture Systems Research for the Freshwater Institute, reported to ASF that the Saint John River strain salmon that they are growing out in freshwater are healthy and proving that this technology for grow-out is feasible. In four months of grow out, the salmon have more than quadrupled in weight (340 to 1650 g). Water quality has been excellent. The food conversion rate is very good, with the weight of the feed producing the same weight of fish. The survival rate of our fish has been 95.5% which is very good.
“All of this has been accomplished without the use of vaccines, harsh chemicals and antibiotics,” says Taylor. There have been no threats to fish health and no sea lice. The harvest is expected to be about ten tons and could occur from January to April of 2012.
“Our research is providing key data on growth rate, survival, fish densities, feed conversion, water quality, primary variable costs, waste loads, fish health, pesticide/antibiotic use, fillet attributes (yield, color, lipid content, flavor) and other key parameters for growing Atlantic salmon to food-size within a freshwater commercial-scale closed containment system,” Taylor adds. The new information obtained through this study will assist with future decision-making by the North American salmon farming industry, government regulators, funders, and conservation advocates and result in better-informed decisions regarding land-based closed-containment systems for salmon grow-out.