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Financial Support Arrives for ISA Hit Shetland Farmers

SCOTLAND, UK - A package of financial support for small and medium-sized fish- farming companies affected by the outbreak of Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA) in Shetland has been announced.

It is intended that some of the money will be used to compensate QA Fish, a small independent Shetland company, after its healthy fish were caught up in movement restrictions imposed to allow the control and eradication of ISA from Shetland, says the Scottish government.

European Fisheries Fund resources will also be made available to other small and medium-sized enterprises which have been affected, for example those which were due to sell smolts into the south-west of Shetland but now can't because of the need for a fallow period. The details of this scheme will be announced shortly.

The Shetland Islands Council will also continue to work with the Scottish Government to financially assist affected Shetland businesses.

The total value of the package is approximately £1.5 million.

Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham said:

"Salmon farming is a vital part of the economy in many remote and rural communities in Scotland. The industry supports about 5,000 direct and indirect jobs in Scotland, including those in salmon processing, and its output has a value of about £324 million.

"It is therefore vital that we do all we can to support the industry through the difficulties caused by the ISA outbreak. We have decided to focus our support on those small and medium-sized enterprises which are least able to endure an occurrence such as this.

"The package of financial support we have announced today will help the affected businesses stay on their feet, which is particularly important in the current economic climate."

Shetland Island Council Development Committee Chairman Josie Simpson said:

"The aquaculture industry is a very important part of the Shetland economy and we will work with the Scottish Government to support the businesses which operate in Shetland."

Director of QA Fish, Gordon Johnson said:

"We are pleased that the Scottish Government has seen fit to offer compensation to assist us through this difficult period. Due to the measures imposed, our small family-owned business was facing a very uncertain future which this assistance will go some way to alleviate"

Three cases of Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA) virus have been confirmed on salmon farms in the South West of Shetland. These were confirmed on January 2, January 30 and March 20.

Following confirmation, the farms are depopulated as soon as practicable to prevent the spread of the virus. Movement restrictions are put in place in the control zone and in a wider surveillance zone.

ISA does not affect humans but can cause serious damage to stocks of farmed Atlantic salmon in seawater.

The offer of compensation to QA Fish for a welfare-driven cull of its stock will be subject to European Commission state aid approval.

Compensation will not be offered for ISA-affected fish stocks, in line with practice in other salmon-producing countries in Europe.

Further Reading

- Go to our previous news item on this story by clicking here.
- Alternatively, read our report, Sea Lice: a Parasite of Fish and Farmers Alike, by clicking here.

the Fish Site Editor

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