Oban fish farmer wins M&S award

Fish Farmer - - United Kingdom News -

A FISH farm man­ager for Scot­tish Sea Farms has been recog­nised for his out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion to sus­tain­able farm­ing and crowned as Young Pro­ducer at this year’s M&S Farm­ing for the Fu­ture awards.

An­drew MacLean­nan, 27, of Fi­u­nary, Oban, won the award for his role in man­ag­ing the sup­ply of Lochmuir salmon to M&S, as well as for his on­go­ing com­mit­ment to pre­serv­ing the lo­cal marine en­vi­ron­ment.

Scot­tish Sea Farms has also been awarded the Ru­ral Com­mu­ni­ties Award for its Heart of the Com­mu­nity Trust (HCT) set up in 2011, which helps sup­port lo­cal char­i­ta­ble and com­mu­nity ini­tia­tives.

To date, the HCT has dis­trib­uted more than £500,000 to a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent causes and has ben­e­fited around 27,000 peo­ple liv­ing in largely ru­ral, coastal com­mu­ni­ties.

The awards were pre­sented at the Royal High­land Show in Ed­in­burgh on Thurs­day, June 23. MacLean­nan started work­ing for SSF just four years ago as a trainee in fish hus­bandry and has quickly worked his way through the ranks.

His am­bi­tious at­ti­tude has seen him ea­gerly grasp ev­ery train­ing op­por­tu­nity avail­able to him, and in a short space of time he has also gained a va­ri­ety of pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment qual­i­fi­ca­tions, in­clud­ing those in fish health, fish feed and nutri­tion, and busi­ness management.

He has also col­lab­o­rated with other farm man­agers in the area and a spe­cial­ist net com­pany to se­cure the pro­duc­tion of a uniquely de­signed net and weight­ing system, which en­ables them to be cleaned eas­ily and thor­oughly.

This has en­sured that hy­giene among his fish is as high as pos­si­ble and min­imises the risk of fish in­fec­tion.

De­spite the chal­leng­ing lo­ca­tion of the farm and po­ten­tial bi­o­log­i­cal threats posed by other sea species in the area, the judges were im­pressed with his strong un­der­stand­ing of fish bi­ol­ogy and his cre­ation of a safe and pro­duc­tive en­vi­ron­ment in which salmon can thrive.

They were also im­pressed with his pas­sion for the in­dus­try and his ded­i­ca­tion to learn­ing and pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment.

M&S Farm­ing for the Fu­ture is a pro­gramme of ini­tia­tives which cham­pi­ons sus­tain­abil­ity and in­no­va­tion.

Steve Mclean, M&S Head of Agri­cul­ture and Fish­eries, said: ‘Ev­ery year it be­comes even harder to choose the win­ners, as each in­di­vid­ual on our short­list has gone the ex­tra mile to set them apart from the com­pe­ti­tion.

‘I’d like to take this op­por­tu­nity to con­grat­u­late An­drew and his team for the for­ward think­ing ap­proach and ded­i­ca­tion to farm­ing ex­cel­lence. His proac­tive at­ti­tude and lead­er­ship skills make him a de­serv­ing win­ner.’

Vic­to­ria McDow­ell, SSF com­mer­cial man­ager, said after win­ning the Ru­ral Com­mu­ni­ties award:‘This is great recog­ni­tion for a very spe­cial scheme. HCT fo­cuses on the 27,000 plus peo­ple it has ben­e­fited more so than the sums of cash do­nated and we are de­lighted to able to help lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.’

His lead­er­ship skills make him a de­serv­ing win­ner”

Above: Vic­to­ria McDow­ell and An­drew MacLean­nan, both of Scot­tish Sea Farms

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