Glenarm Organic Salmon begin their life cycle as eggs which are collected from the hen (female) fish and then fertilised with milt from the cock (male) fish. This typically takes place in late autumn early winter.
The fertilised eggs are placed in temperature controlled tanks in a freshwater hatchery where they will begin their initial stages of development. The orange pea-sized eggs will not become "eyed" (i.e. the eyes of the embryo can be seen as two black dots) until January-February, before hatching in March-April to start their next stage in life as alevins.
The newly hatched alevins still have their yolk sacs attached to their bodies and will feed off these until the yolk sac is absorbed. At this stage in their life, the baby salmon known as "fry" are fed on a special diet ensuring the right balance of nutrition for healthy growth. After six months the fry become "parr" and acquire distinct skin markings. In the spring the small salmon (parr) are then moved to freshwater loch on-growing units.
The fry will continue to thrive in the pristine and crystal clear waters of Lough Fee in Connemara where they will quickly develop into parr with vertical stripes and spots for camouflage. Once the parr have grown to 10-15cm in body length they undergo a physical change that allows them to be transferred from freshwater to seawater as smolts.
After 18 months the parr have taken on a silvery appearance and are now called smolts. The average smolt is between 10cm & 15cm long and weighs between 60 - 100 grams. The smolts are sorted by size and are transferred to our seawater farms in Glenarm Bay and Red Bay. Over the next 18 months, the smolts grow into prime adult salmon reaching harvest weights of between 3kg & 5kg.
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