Salmon vaccine sales and smolt release are correlated and good indicators on long term harvest as it takes up to 2 years from smolt release to harvest.
Pharmaq releases monthly salmon vaccine sales around the 10th in each month.
Since salmon vaccine sales on a monthly basis can be jumpy, I believe it is equally important to look at the accumulated vaccine sales (the calendar year runs from September to August).
The historical correlation between smolt release and vaccine sales is strong. Therefore, the vaccine sales so far indicate a slightly higher smolt release in 2014, and therefore only slightly higher harvest volumes in 2015.
Why salmon vaccine?
For the majority of salmonid health conditions, prevention is achieved through vaccination at an early stage in production. Vaccines are widely used commercially to reduce the risk of health challenges. With the introduction of vaccines a considerable number of bacterial health challenges have been effectively controlled, with the additional benefit that the quantity of medicine prescribed in the industry has been minimised.
In some situations however medicinal treatment is still required to maximise survival and even the best managed farms may use medicines from time to time. For several of the viral diseases, no effective vaccines are currently available (Source: MHG Industry Handbook 2012).
…then, over to smolt release
Smolt release is one of the important indicators on future harvest quantities as it takes up to 2 years from the smolt is transferred to the sea before the fish is harvested.
Due to limited spare capacity in the current MAB regime in Norway, we can see that smolt release did not grow much in 2011-14.
If we look at the current year’s transfers. May is the heaviest” month of the year (~20% of annual release).
This is how smolt release in Norway look at a 12-month trailing basis.
Remember, though, that depending on issues like seawater temperatures and access to large-sized smolts (considered to be more robust), farmers can choose to postpone or push forward smolt release by 1-2 months.
Hence, looking at the 12-month trailing number does not always provide the right signal about growth in future harvest volumes.
If no actual numbers on smolt releases are available, vaccine sales could be a good indicator of number of smolt releases