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Viking Fish Farms Ltd - Ardtoe Marine Laboratory

Aquired by Viking Fish Farms in 2005, the Ardtoe Marine Laboratory was originally established in 1965 as a publicly funded marine aquaculture research station, and rapidly gained an international reputation in the development of techniques for rearing species such as turbot, sole, cod, haddock, halibut lobsters and scallops.

The unit houses some of the largest marine experimental facilities in the UK, with tanks ranging from 3 litre aquaria to 160m3 GCS units; extensive photoperiod and temperature controlled multi-replicate experimental tank systems and warm and cold water recircualtion systems. Its other facilities include wet and dry laboratories; an engineering workshop; offices; living accommodation; a library; and meeting facilities. The company also has access to offshore facilities suitable for both shellfish and seaweed research and production activities.

Viking currently has a complement of seven full time and one part time members of staff, comprising three researchers, two production specialists, a technician, a site electrician/engineer and a financial/personnel manager.

Presently the company produces commercial quantities of turbot, sole, and cod fry; sea urchin juveniles; oyster spat (native and Pacific); and seaweeds, all of which are supplied to farmers in the UK and elsewhere. It also produces small quantities of other marine species for stocking public aquaria and for research purposes.

Research - Publicly funded

Viking continues to carry out both in-house and publicly funded research in marine aquaculture. Current ongoing or secured projects include:

  • EcoFish. Environment friendly fish farming and use of cleaner fish. (EU Nothern Periphery Programme)
  • Larvanet . Critical Success Factors For Fish Larval Production In European Aquaculture: A Multidisciplinary Network (EU COST Action).
  • NETALGAE. An inter-regional network to promote sustainable development in the marine macroalgal sector (EU-ERDF Atlantic Area Programme)
  • ProSpawn. Implementation Of Natural Spawning For Marine Fish Species In Culture - Improving Quality Of Off-Spring And Animal Welfare (EU R4SME).
  • Enrich. Enrichment Of Aquaculture Systems By Introduction Of Commercially Underdeveloped Marine Species From Different Trophic Levels (EU R4SME).
  • eFishent. Improvement of feeds and feeding efficiency for sea bass in cage farms in the Mediterranean (EU R4SME)
  • CleanHatch. Development and implementation of an innovative cleaning technology for marine and freshwater larval hatchery tanks in recirculating aquaculture systems (EU R4SME)
  • Validation of the OECD-model for predicted impact freshwater cage production on in-loch total phosphorus content (SARF)
  • Hake. Establishment and development of a national broodstock of the European hake, Merluccius merluccius (SARF)
  • Native Oysters. Overcoming bottlenecks in the intensive commercial production of native oyster spat. (SARF)
  • Cod Feeding Regimes (SARF)
  • Control of sea lice with wrasse (SARF)
  • Improving the welfare of marine fisnfish during transport (HIE)

In the recent past, Viking has undertaken on behalf of private clients the testing of various commercial products such as:

  • Rotifer culture diets
  • Rotifer and Artemia enrichment diets
  • “Green water” products
  • Marine finfish, weaning, nursery and ongrowing diets
  • Fish egg and live feed disinfection products

Viking have been contracted to provide several reviews and best practice documents which recently include :

  • A review of remediation action for harmful algal blooms
  • A review of remedation action for jellyfish blooms
  • Minimim welfare standards for wrasse during capture, tranport and stocking in salmon cages


Dr Tim Atack
Viking Fish Farms Ltd, Ardtoe Marine Laboratory,
Acharacle, Argyll PH36 4LD,

Tel: +44 (0) 1397 709271

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