All news

Ace Aquatec leads new partnership to improve salmon farming circular economy 

17 April 2024

Ace Aquatec leads new partnership to improve salmon farming circular economy 

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

Salmon raised at farms in Scotland achieve a monthly survival rate ranging from 97-99 per cent 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 harvest, collect, freeze, package and store 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 utilised 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 15th.

Tara McGregor-Woodhams, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at Ace Aquatec, said: “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.” 

Teresa Garzon, pioneer of Tiny Fish, said: “This initiative is an opportunity to demonstrate the commitment of the Scottish aquaculture industry in driving sustainability across the harvesting process, from producer to supply chain. I take pride in Tiny Fish’s part in this and our commitment to using every fish harvested. I am optimistic that we will contribute significantly to enhancing sustainability across the sector as a whole.”

Dan Philips, Freshwater Director at Mowi, said: “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.”

John Blackett, of GA Pet Foods, added: ‘‘We’ve seen demand for our eco-friendly pet food go through the roof recent years as pet owners choose healthier diets for their furry friends. Pets given too much calorific processed food may, just like humans, put on extra weight. Fish has a lower carbon footprint than meat, and fresh, natural ingredients are better for animal health. So, by working with Tiny Fish, we can help our customers buy sustainable seafood products whilst looking after the wider environment.”

Jarl van den Berg, General Manager of Landcatch Natural Selection, added: ‘This is the best solution in the market in terms of animal welfare standards and environmental impact. It’s great to see companies working together to set a new sustainable standard for the rest of the industry to follow to improve everyone’s environmental footprint and more importantly ensure companies are using the fish for value-added purposes.”