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Scottish Salmon Celebrates 40 Years

SCOTLAND, UK - As the salmon sector celebrates the 40th anniversary of the first commercial farms in Scotland, the industrys representative body has expressed a desire to grow by four per cent per annum over the next ten years from 144,000 to 210,000 tonnes.

Chief Executive of SSPO, Scott Landsburgh

The ambition to achieve an annual production of 210,000 tonnes by 2020 is highlighted in the newly-published Annual Report from Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation (SSPO).

Professor Phil Thomas, Chairman of SSPO, said: “This is a year of celebration for the Scottish salmon industry; it is also a year of planning for the future.

“The first commercial harvest of Scottish salmon was 14 tonnes back in 1971. Now, farmers grow 144,000 tonnes and it has become Scotland’s single largest food export.

“The next phase of development includes a sustainable growth in production over the next ten years. It is planned to develop the industry at an average rate of four per cent per year, to achieve an annual production of 210,000 tonnes by 2020.”

Scott Landsburgh, Chief Executive of SSPO, said: “Forty years ago some people hailed the salmon industry as the ‘replacement for the oil bonanza’, whilst others questioned the credibility of the technology involved.

“We may not have matched the oil industry’s revenue – although two of our companies now feature strongly on Scotland’s top 120 companies list – but we have stood the test of time. We would now like to grow steadily and responsibly over the next ten years to effectively increase production by half to keep pace with growing global demand,” he added.

Highlighting an increasing participation (65 per cent and rising) in Freedom Food, the leading animal welfare scheme from the RSPCA, an all-time low in the number of fish lost to escape incidents, novel research into the use of wrasse to mitigate the effects of sea lice and the launch of a revised Code of Good Practice during 2010 in the Annual Report, Mr Landsburgh said:

“The industry is confident and prepared to meet the challenges ahead. It is committed to adopting the best in advanced science and technology to maintain its position as a leading Scottish food sector.

“This confidence, when set against a background of challenging market circumstances for the Scottish and UK economy as a whole, augurs well for the long-term viability of the remote rural economies of the west Highlands and Islands and the Northern Isles of Scotland,” he added.

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