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Ace Aquatec leads new partnership to improve salmon farming circular economy at the hatchery

A collaboration between Ace Aquatec and Tiny Fish is advancing Scottish salmon’s circular economy by helping the sector gain access to new premium food markets for its smallest fish.

Tiny Fish Ben and Ian
Credits: Ace Aquatech
April 17, 2024

Salmon raised at farms in Scotland achieve a monthly survival rate ranging from 97-99% throughout their lifecycle, with these fish losses being traditionally repurposed into compost or bioenergy. However, during the salmon’s freshwater phase (the first year after hatching), a selection of small salmon may be humanely removed from the population to allow for the best salmon to be raised at sea to a market size of about five kilograms. This selection of fresh fish in the hatchery phase provides an opportunity to market them as premium foods in many unique markets.

Tiny Fish harvests, collects, freezes, packages and stores the small salmon for value-added distribution channels to restaurants, hotels, takeaways, zoos, aquariums and pet food suppliers across the UK, making every fish count in the aquaculture industry.

To facilitate a humane, safe, and efficient process to prepare small salmon for these unique markets, Scotland’s salmon farming sector has employed Ace Aquatec’s Humane Culling System (A-HCS®). The A-HCS® is a smaller and more portable version of the company’s award-winning Humane Stunner Universal (A-HSU®).

Amongst the partnership’s freshwater clients are seafood giant Mowi and Landcatch. Mowi has already seen positive outcomes for sustainability when some of their smallest fry and parr (salmon which are not yet at smolt stage) have been utilized for human consumption and pet food producers like Golden Acre Pet Foods.

The Tiny Fish and Ace Aquatec partnership has been shortlisted for the “Collaboration” category at the Aquaculture Awards 2024. Winners will be announced in Aviemore on May 15.

Tara McGregor-Woodhams, chief sales and marketing officer at Ace Aquatec, said that “the goal of this partnership of making every fish count is closely aligned with our own commitment to sustainability at Ace Aquatec. This collaboration has created a real opportunity for Scottish producers to show the global aquaculture sector that putting welfare and zero food waste at the heart of processing is easy to achieve and the right thing to do.”

Dan Philips, freshwater director at Mowi, said that “farmers want to see every one of their fish sold as food. This collaboration between Ace Aquatec and Tiny Fish is a no-brainer to reduce food waste across our freshwater production. The technology is easy to operate and is helping us reduce our carbon footprint by converting the fish into a natural, healthy and safe ingredient for pet food products and fish oils.”