ALL publicly-listed salmon farming companies in Scotland harvested significantly less fish than predicted in 2023, it has been revealed.

According to research by IntraFish, Scotland stood out internationally as having large discrepancies between estimated harvest and final volume.

Every single salmon farming company which makes its yearly results available in Scotland generated far lower harvests than expected.

Privately-owned companies operating in the country do not publish their results publicly and are therefore were not included in IntraFish's analysis. 

Indeed, Scottish Sea Farms – which owned by two Norwegian companies – harvested 40% less fish than originally announced.

Scottish company Mowi harvested 16% less than planned while Bakkafrost Scotland came in at 31% below expectations.

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The latest data on salmon mortality shows that 11 farms in Scotland had cumulative mortality rates of more than 20%.

One Bakkafrost farm, Druimyeon Bay on the east coast of the Isle of Gigha, had a mortality rate of 82.3% in 2022.

Between January and November 2022, there were nearly 15 million salmon mortalities in fish farms in Scotland.

Campaigners say this is largely due to increasing levels of disease, parasites and the impact of jellyfish blooms.

Warming waters due to climate change are also exacerbating these issues.

The chief executive of industry body Salmon Scotland, Tavish Scott, said farmers would be “happy to see the back of 2023”.

The National: Farmed salmon infested with sea liceFarmed salmon infested with sea lice (Image: .)

He told The National: “Scottish salmon is a global success story which is frequently voted the best in the world.

“As well as providing vital jobs and wealth for the Scottish economy it is integral to Scotland’s identity at home and abroad.

“While consumer demand for nutritious salmon continues to grow, these figures confirm what member companies have been saying: that record breaking seawater temperatures and challenging environmental conditions have made it a really tough year for production in many parts of the world.

“Most salmon farmers will be happy to see the back of 2023 and start the new year afresh.

“We all recognise the impact climate change will have on farming operations globally and through continuous improvement we will continue to produce healthy, low-carbon salmon for decades to come.”

But director of campaign group $camon $cotland, Don Staniford, said Scott was “desperately” trying to defend an “ethically bankrupt” industry.

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“Salmon farming in Scotland is dead in the warming waters," he said.

"A deadly cocktail of climate change, jellyfish swarms, plagues of parasites, infectious diseases and mass mortalities is killing off millions of farmed salmon - and cleaner fish - on salmon farms littering the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.

“Like King Canute, Tavish Scott is desperately trying to push back the incoming tide.

“The only solution is to stop farming salmon. Investors must now be seeing Scottish salmon as a toxic trade which should be avoided like the proverbial plague.

“It's only a matter of time before the plug is pulled on the welfare nightmare that is Scottish salmon farming.

“A lethal industry riddled with 50% mortalities - from hatch to 'catch' - is ethically bankrupt".