Summer seemed to go on for much longer this year and even as I write this (at the end of November) there have only been 3 very minor ground frosts. There are now eggs in the hatchery, the first of which were stripped during a student training practical which allows significant experience to be gained by students many of whom have never before seen a trout! I actually enjoy these visits and I am sure many of the students find the experience both helpful and extremely interesting.
The current MSc (Aquaculture) group came out to Howietoun in September to take part in a water quality sampling practical and given that many were anglers they had the use of a rod to "sample fish" during lunch-break. I am assured that all of the fish retained were delicious to eat and there is now a steady demand for trout for eating next spring.
Orders for fish for re-stocking during the 2015 season are now flooding in. We will have around 40,000 2 year old fish available plus yearlings and some 3 year old fish for sale as larger fish in the 2lb plus category or added in as "bonus" fish for our loyal customers. Those who received fish in 2014 will know what to expect!
With no quality standard on restocking fish it is very important to understand how fish are produced. We will never be the cheapest but I sincerely hope we will always be the best. Inspection is invited for those who have never purchased fish from us and I will gladly provide a full guided tour of facilities for any prospective (or existing) customer.
If mild weather continues throughout the winter I confidently expect fish to be well in advance of committed sales. Those orders we have already received will be the first to benefit from this "growth dividend".
Best regards to all