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1 billion boost to Scottish salmon industry

UK - Scotlands public and private sectors have joined forces this week when they travel to Norway as part of a new initiative to encourage further investment in the salmon farming industry.

Representatives from Scottish Development International (SDI), Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) are to meet senior executives from both Scottish and multi-national salmon farming companies at the worlds biggest aquaculture event to outline the support for the sustainable growth of the sector.

Over the four days of AquaNor 2007, attended by all the major players in the salmon farming business, SDI, HIE and SSPO are to host a breakfast reception and a series of one-to-one meetings with many of the managing directors of companies based in Scotland and overseas parent companies.

Held in Trondheim between the 14 and 17 August 2007, the meetings are part of a strategy designed to help companies meet the increasing UK and international demand for quality salmon products from Scotland. Further follow-up meetings with both Scottish and overseas investors are to be arranged over the course of the next few months.

Scotland is the third largest salmon producer in the world, generating a worldwide retail value of over 1 billion. The industry supports 8,500 full and part time jobs, many of which are located in remote, rural communities.

Highlighting the new Scottish Governments support for both the joined-up approach to attracting further investment and the development of the salmon farming industry, the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, Mr Richard Lochhead MSP, said: I am sorry that essential business in Scotland prevents me from joining the launch but I am delighted to support this ambitious initiative.

It is critically important that we bring in further investment to this industry which plays a vital part in Scotlands rural economy. I want to realise the potential to increase production in Scotland at suitable sites and within the carrying capacity of the environment. I am keen that we continue to build on the industrys strengths and achievements for a sustainable and successful future.

Sid Patten, Chief Executive of SSPO, said: This is an enormously important initiative as it will inform future investment strategies. Salmon farming is a major part of Scotlands rural communities, contributing significantly to social and economic growth over the last 30 years. To ensure the continuing sustainable development of our young and dynamic industry, we are keen to highlight the public sector and political support for the industry in Scotland.

Jackie Wright, Director of business growth and research with HIE said: Aquaculture plays a vital role in the Highlands and Islands and we recognise the importance of having both indigenous and global companies in our area. In addition, the industry helps to sustain many of the regions more remote communities and HIE is keen to support it to prosper and grow here.

David Smith, Director of Europe, Middle East and Africa at SDI, said: AquaNor is one of the worlds biggest aquaculture shows attracting around 20,000 visitors from close to 50 countries, with 300 exhibitors representing more than 600 manufacturers and suppliers from all over the world. The salmon sector is a high growth industry and we would like to help the sector achieve its aspirations in Scotland.