Marine Harvest Scot­land 50 Years Editor’s welcome

Fish Farmer - - Marine Harvest Scotland 50 Years – Welcome - Editor: Tim Sid­dons

In 1919 Al­cock and Brown made the first non-stop transat­lantic flight, from New­found­land to Ire­land. Fifty years later, Boe­ing was test fly­ing the 747, an air­craft that sig­nalled a new dawn for com­mer­cial avi­a­tion, which to­day is a highly tech­no­log­i­cal, and highly reg­u­lated, multi-bil­lion pound in­dus­try. The sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween avi­a­tion and salmon farm­ing are strik­ing. Like the early avi­a­tors, the pioneers at Marine Harvest based their ef­forts on an idea – a belief that salmon could be farmed on a com­mer­cial ba­sis. And, just as the early avi­a­tors were told that mech­a­nised flight could not be done, in the ‘60s all of the ex­perts ap­proached by Marine Harvest said the same thing: salmon sim­ply could not be farmed. How­ever, part of the pi­o­neer­ing spirit in­cludes fly­ing in the face of the per­ceived wis­dom of the day and Marine Harvest, just like Al­cock and Brown, car­ried on re­gard­less. The rest, as they say, is history.

There is one key dif­fer­ence be­tween avi­a­tion and salmon farm­ing. Whilst the evo­lu­tion of avi­a­tion has been the re­sult of nu­mer­ous in­di­vid­u­als and com­pa­nies, each build­ing on the ideas and tech­nolo­gies that have come be­fore, the evo­lu­tion of salmon farm­ing in Scot­land was ini­ti­ated, de­vel­oped and per­fected by one com­pany – Marine Harvest. And this evo­lu­tion, from one small salmon farm – the UK’s first – that pro­duced a mod­est 14 tonnes in its first harvest to, by the end of this year, 56 sites (47 sea wa­ter and 9 fresh­wa­ter) pro­duc­ing up­wards of 50,000 tonnes an­nu­ally, is ex­tra­or­di­nary.

The for­tunes of Marine Harvest Scot­land have been in­ti­mately tied to those of the Scot­tish in­dus­try in gen­eral. In­deed, the com­pany has been in­stru­men­tal in de­vel­op­ing the rep­u­ta­tion of the Scot­tish brand, and se­cur­ing Scot­tish salmon’s po­si­tion as a pre­mium prod­uct. As such, the cel­e­bra­tion of Marine Harvest Scot­land’s suc­cess is also a cel­e­bra­tion of the whole of the Scot­tish salmon in­dus­try, which by work­ing col­lab­o­ra­tively con­tin­ues to go from strength to strength. The fol­low­ing pages tell the fas­ci­nat­ing story of Marine Harvest Scot­land’s in­cred­i­ble jour­ney from a small com­pany that be­gan in 1965 with the con­cept of grow­ing salmon com­mer­cially – which it de­vel­oped through re­search, hard work, ex­pe­ri­ence and in­no­va­tion into a hugely suc­cess­ful process – to one that has ma­tured into the largest salmon farm­ing com­pany in the world. The telling of this story could not have been pos­si­ble with­out the as­sis­tance of Marine Harvest Scot­land, which pro­vided archival doc­u­ments, im­ages and a wealth of in­valu­able in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing its oper­a­tions over the years. I would also like to thank all of the in­di­vid­u­als who took the time and ef­fort to pro­vide me with the many per­sonal pho­to­graphs that can be seen within this spe­cial edi­tion.

How­ever, it is the Marine Harvest em­ploy­ees – from the pioneers, whose skill, com­mit­ment and ded­i­ca­tion were in­te­gral to the early years, to the men and women, past and present, who have all played their part in the com­pany’s de­vel­op­ment – that I have had the priv­i­lege to in­ter­view who pro­vided the real added-value. It is their shared ex­pe­ri­ences, mem­o­ries, and pho­to­graphs that have shaped this is­sue, and made the process of re­search­ing and writ­ing it such a plea­sure. I hope you en­joy read­ing it as much as I did putting it to­gether.

The cel­e­bra­tion of Marine Harvest Scot­land’s suc­cess is also a cel­e­bra­tion of the whole of the Scot­tish salmon in­dus­try”

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