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Orkney salmon sector bounces back

UK - Salmon farming in Orkney is making a dramatic recovery with production set to increase after a period of serious decline.

Production fell from a high of 10,740 tonnes in 2003 to 3,724 tonnes in 2006. Now as confidence and investment return, forecasts show 2007 production in Orkney will reach over 5,300 tonnes with the possibility of production rising beyond this given the right conditions.

The sector has been boosted further by a series of meetings of industry leaders this week as they gathered to discuss the merits of a development strategy specific to the islands.

Michael Gibson, Chairman, and David Sandison, Secretary of Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation (SSPO), met with representatives from the salmon industry, Orkney Islands Council and HIE Orkney to discuss the further sustainable development of the industry.

“The recent trend of decreasing production in Orkney is being reversed following a period of consolidation and renewed optimism within the industry,” said Michael Gibson.

“It is generally accepted that Orkney has some of the most favourable marine environments in Scotland to grow salmon, so the positive forecast is good news for the islands’ rural communities.

“We must now ensure that the sector continues to build on its successes and help it to take advantage of the increasing demand for products from regions with a strong provenance.

“The challenge for all of us involved with the Orkney salmon sector is clear – we must do what we can to help it maintain this continued, sustainable development,” he added.