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Economic Boost For Shetland Salmon Sector

UK - The ex-farm value of the Shetland salmon sector is to top 145 million in 2010, an increase of 15% from the previous year (126m in 2009), according to Shetland Aquaculture.

The forecast from the farmers’ association follows commitment from industry to make further investment during the year, including an injection of £5.1million in South West Shetland, to help meet increasing demand for healthy salmon products from the islands.

Touring the islands (Monday 16th August – Wednesday 18th August), Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Minister for Environment in the Scottish Government, is to view the salmon industry investment and visit award-winning Lerwick Fish Traders today.

Welcoming the Minister, David Sandison, General Manager of Shetland Aquaculture, said, “Shetland is a top class hub for salmon farming. It is a very positive time for the industry and we are glad to highlight the increasing value to the local economy and showcase some of the investments, innovations and advances that have been achieved.

“Roseanna Cunningham recognises the significance of the fish farming industry to both the rural economy of Shetland and Scotland, as well as its national importance at a time of economic recession,” he added.

The salmon industry generates over 1,000 direct and indirect jobs in Shetland. With a working population of 10,000 people, this accounts for over 10% of the workforce, making it the largest private sector employer on the islands. Representing over 30% of all farmed salmon grown in the UK, Shetland is also the largest salmon producing region in the UK.

Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham said: “Our aquaculture industry presents a huge opportunity for Shetland and for Scotland as a whole. The significant investment and efforts of salmon farming companies in Shetland demonstrate confidence in the prospects for this iconic Scottish product.

“A responsible and well-managed aquaculture industry is critical to Scotland’s economic success and salmon farms in Shetland now offer a beacon for the economy of our remote and rural communities.

“I’m confident that there are significant opportunities still to be realised for Scottish aquaculture, both in terms of employment and investment, and I look forward to further positive developments over the coming months.”

Michael Stark, Chairman of Shetland Aquaculture, said: “With strong demand for our products, we have a great opportunity to increase market share for Scottish salmon in a highly competitive global market place.

“We operate in a challenging environment and need to continuously invest in our future. I am glad to be able to demonstrate to the Minister and her team why it is vitally important that our investments are supported and encouraged,” he added.

Scott Landsburgh, Chief Executive of Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation, said: “The investment in people, equipment and stock will increase the sector’s contribution to the Shetland economy. As the global salmon market is forecast to have an undersupply of 190,000 tonnes in 2010, this investment will help the Shetland salmon sector take advantage of strengthening demand.”

the Fish Site Editor

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