SALMON LIFE CYCLE
Broodstock or adult-spawning salmon, provide the eggs and milt for the next generation. Broodstock mark the beginning of the salmon farming cycle and play a vital role in the success of our farming operations. Each fall, we collect the eggs from our spawning salmon at our Broodstock locations in New Brunswick and Newfoundland. The eggs from each female are kept separate and mixed with the milt of one male for fertilization. Once the eggs have hardened, they are moved to the hatchery for incubation.
Once arriving at the hatchery, each egg batch is incubated separately in Heath trays. The eggs will be incubated for approximately 5-6 weeks until they reach the eyed stage. After about 9 weeks, the eggs will hatch. Upon hatching, the sac fry (alevins) will continue to develop using the nutrients in their yolk sacs. The young fry are ready to feed once their yolk sacs have almost completely disappeared.
The young fry, now on our customized feed, grow quickly over the next 6 to 12 months. The fry grow to become parr and finally undergo developmental changes that prepare them for life in saltwater as smolts.
Once the smolts are ready for saltwater, they are transported by our Well Boat from the hatchery to the farming sites to begin the saltwater phase of their growth cycle.
When it comes to selecting our farms we look for remoteness, water quality, temperature, and volume – all factors that contribute to producing a top-quality product.
After all, it takes up to four years to grow a fish to market size, and much of that time is spent in our ocean-based farm sites.
Once in their new saltwater setting, the smolts continue to be fed a customized, high-quality diet. Initially, smolts are hand fed several times a day. They grow quickly, reaching 1 kilogram in size in just 6 to 8 months. Meanwhile, the saltwater environment is monitored carefully for temperature and oxygen on a daily basis, to ensure optimal conditions. The salmon are raised at the farm site for up to 22 months and upon reaching a target weigh of approximately 5 kilograms, they are scheduled for harvest.
Our salmon are harvested in a humane and environmentally-secure way. Using a seine net, the fish are crowded in preparation for loading onto the Well Boat. Stress is minimized and oxygen levels are closely monitored. The salmon are then transported in ice to the processing plant.
At Northern Harvest’s processing facility our fresh salmon are cleaned, graded for quality and size and packaged in recycled packaging in preparation for transport to market. Our farmed salmon are sold fresh and delivery by truck only. Our processing facility is located to major markets with having deliveries typically taking place within 48 hours of harvest.