Scottish Salmon Company receives £ 5million public funding

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The Scottish Salmon Company (SSC) has received £ 5million in public sector funding to carry out a four-year research and development project.

The project is being carried out at SSC’s Applecross sites in the North West Highlands and is expected to create around 30 new rural jobs.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has approved a £ 3million investment, with an additional £ 2million coming from Marine Scotland.

The project is led by SSC as part of a longer term commitment from its parent company, the Bakkafrost Group.

The main objective is to increase the size of smolts (young salmon) from about 100g to 500g in an environmentally sustainable manner, using recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) technology.

This will include breeding and improving smolt testing and vaccination methods to improve fish welfare while increasing production. Better control of the freshwater rearing environment increases the time smolts spend in the freshwater production phase.

It is hoped that this will shorten the marine phase, where fish are most exposed to environmental and biological challenges, such as predation and disease. In turn, this should reduce the biological risk and allow for increased productivity and quality.

Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “This investment underscores our commitment to promote the sustainable development of the aquaculture sector.

“The project will improve fish and welfare, apply innovation to address key challenges and contribute to sustainability. It also supports the creation of new jobs that will stimulate the economy as a whole.

“These jobs include high value-added and highly skilled positions in remote rural areas and also add to our burgeoning aquaculture supply chain, making the entire industry more sustainable in the long term. “

Carroll Buxton, Interim Managing Director of HIE, said: “This project will improve the welfare and quality of the fish, while increasing the efficiency of production. I am very happy that we were able to lend our support and look forward to seeing the initiative develop.

The SSC employs around 600 people at 60 locations, most of them in economically fragile areas of the West Coast and Islands of Scotland.

After buying the company in 2019, Bakkafrost has grown into one of the largest producers of Atlantic salmon in the world.

It has already invested £ 50million in SSC and has confirmed its commitment to continue this investment over the next five years, in areas such as innovative breeding, smolt testing and vaccination methods to improve the property. -be fish while increasing production.

Ian Laister, Managing Director of SSC, added: “This new post-smolt technology will be a game-changer and we are delighted to have the substantial support of Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Marine Scotland to enable the development of these innovative plans in Scotland. .

“Our RAS facility at Applecross will be fully operational by 2023 and will be the largest of its kind in Scotland, with plans for two additional RAS facilities. “

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