Scott Lands­burgh

Fish Farmer - - Contents - BY SCOTT LANDS­BURGH

SALM arm­ing s re­cent record o com­mer­cial suc­cess, cul­mi­nat­ing in its po­si­tion as Scot­land s and the s num­ber one ood ex­port, is some­thing to be proud o as an in­dus­try. ex­ports o whole, resh sal­mon rose 17 per cent in value in 2016 rom the pre­vi­ous year. Sig­nif­i­cant in­creases were seen in Far Eastern and E mar­kets, and the Mid­dle East also recorded a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease, grow­ing by nearly 32 per cent. We are acutely aware, how­ever, that we still have de­trac­tors and con­tinue to come in or strong crit­i­cism, par­tic­u­larly rom a mi­nor­ity in the wild sal­mon sec­tor.

n some o the crit­i­cism we need to set the record straight as the ac­tual de­tail can get lost in the noise o me­dia hys­te­ria. Most no­tably, there has been seem­ingly lim­ited ef­fort in ob­tain­ing the ull acts on the prob­lem o sea lice.

First o all, sea lice oc­cur nat­u­rally in ma­rine waters and are ound on both wild and armed sal­mon. ver the last year, the num­bers o sea lice were, in some lo­ca­tions, higher than we would have wished to see.

In some cases, it was a chal­lenge to re­duce the lev­els, but Sco sh sal­mon arm­ers in­vested heav­ily in cleaner fish and phys­i­cal equip­ment that can re­move them, as well as us­ing a range o vet­eri­nary medicines to ad­dress the is­sue. The sit­u­a­tion is now im­prov­ing.

The dra­matic me­dia re­ports we have seen ail to men­tion that on ev­ery sal­mon arm there is an ac­tion plan to mon­i­tor and man­age sea lice lev­els con­tin­u­ally through­out the pro­duc­tion cy­cle.

I , as has hap­pened on a num­ber o arms, the level goes above three adult emale lice, the arm no­ti­fies Ma­rine Scot­land Science and ex­plains their ac­tion plan to re­duce the num­bers. The arm re­mains in con­tact with the gov­ern­ment agency un­til the is­sue is re­solved.

In that way, the arm and the reg­u­la­tor mon­i­tor progress closely and fish health and wel are are al­ways looked a er. This is part o a long-stand­ing, trans­par­ent and ex­ten­sive ex­change o in or­ma­tion with the reg­u­la­tors about our fish health stan­dards.

As any armer knows, look­ing a er health and wel are re­quires ded­i­cated hus­bandry, and nowa­days the tech­niques in­volved have to adapt to rapidly chang­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions, such as warmer wa­ter tem­per­a­tures and ex­otic al­gal blooms.

In ad­di­tion, we are in the process o es­tab­lish­ing a 10-year fish health strat­egy in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Ma­rine Scot­land Science to de­velop new arm­ing meth­ods to uture proo this im­por­tant sec­tor rom any bi­o­log­i­cal or en­vi­ron­men­tal chal­lenges which come its way.

With the level o in­vest­ment, the sci­en­tific re­search and ded­i­ca­tion o hard work­ing arm­ers, sea lice may re­main a chal­lenge, but one we can over­come.

Busi­ness con­fi­dence in the in­dus­try re­mained high last year, as a new SSP new re­port, pub­lished on ovem­ber 6, showed. For the sec­ond year, cap­i­tal in­vest­ment is si ng at 63 mil­lion and nearly 3,500 Sco sh com­pa­nies are ben­e­fit­ing rom do­ing busi­ness with sal­mon arm­ers. Some 2,400 o th­ese com­pa­nies are in the High­lands and is­lands.

Ex­pen­di­ture on sup­pli­ers and ser­vices to main­tain pro­duc­tion was more than 595 mil­lion, with just over 390 mil­lion o that spent in Scot­land, and the sal­mon arm­ing sec­tor in­creased em­ploy­ment by 13 per cent last year.

The eco­nomic im­pact is par­tic­u­larly ev­i­dent in the High­lands and is­lands, where 164 mil­lion was spent di­rectly with lo­cal busi­nesses. In to­tal, wages in­creased by five per cent to al­most 75 mil­lion.

I m es­pe­cially pleased to see more re­cruit­ment and that 91 per cent o jobs are ull-time. This is a ma­jor boost or the Sco sh econ­omy, but or the High­lands and is­lands it is a vi­tal eco­nomic and so­cial sup­port.

In ad­di­tion to the busi­ness o sal­mon arm­ing and the demon­stra­ble ben­e­fits that brings, the in­dus­try is com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties where staff and their am­i­lies live and work.

Sal­mon arm­ing com­pa­nies al­low staff time off to vol­un­teer or vi­tal lo­cal ser­vices such as moun­tain res­cue and the fire ser­vice. By shar­ing acil­i­ties, time, ex­per­tise and pro­vid­ing fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance, sal­mon arm­ing sup­ported com­mu­ni­ties to the value o 735,000.

The in­dus­try s long-term com­mit­ment to the High­lands and is­lands and its work orce is also seen in the con­tin­ued skills and train­ing pro­grammes, with 111 young peo­ple on Mod­ern Ap­pren­tice­ships or ational Pro­gres­sion Awards schemes.

Me­dia re­ports fail to men­tion that on ev­ery arm there is an ac­tion plan to mon­i­tor and man­age sea lev­els” lice

Above: Pest man­age­ment is a ea­ture o ev­ery Sco sh fish arm

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