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Scottish Salmon's new 'man in Brussles' visits Shetland Isles

UK - Scottish Salmon Producers Organisations (SSPO) newly-appointed European and Technical Manager visited Shetland this week to hear about the business aspirations and legislative concerns of the salmon sector on the Isles.

Commenting after his first visit to Shetland since taking on the new role, Dr Neil Auchterlonie said: “By visiting communities where salmon farming is so important, and having discussions about business aspirations and concerns over the potential impacts of legislation deriving from Europe, I will be able to effectively represent the views of the people employed in the industry in Shetland, Orkney, the Western Isles, and mainland Scotland.

“As the European Union and its institutions are actively addressing a number of issues with implications for salmon farming, I aim to ensure that the industry’s contribution to the social, economic and commercial landscape of Scotland’s fragile, rural communities is promoted and recognised.

“During my time spent working for a salmon farming company in Lewis in the 1990s, I know how important the industry is to rural communities, and the islands in particular. By monitoring and assessing the likely impacts of draft Directives, and working effectively within the current Scottish and UK representation in Europe, I will ensure that Scottish concerns are incorporated, heard and represented in Brussels,” he concluded.

David Sandison, manager of SSPO’s office in Shetland, General Manager of Shetland Aquaculture, and host for the visit, added: “As approximately 80% of legislation derives from Europe, Neil’s appointment will enhance our understanding of the Brussels decision-making process and ensure effective implementation of legislation at Scottish and UK levels.”

Sid Patten, Chief Executive of SSPO, added: “We are delighted to have Neil working with us. He has a vast experience in all aspects of aquaculture and will take our European representation to a new level of success, ensuring that this vital industry receives true recognition for its contribution to the social, economic and nutritional wellbeing of some of the most rural communities in Scotland and beyond.”

During a tour of the Isles on Monday 30th and Tuesday 31st October, Neil visited various salmon farming companies and processing facilities, as well as meeting with representatives from NAFC Marine Centre.

Prior to joining SSPO last month, Neil managed Defra’s Fish Health and Aquaculture Research and Development Programme in London, also providing scientific advice to policy on a range of national and European issues.

Neil’s experience also includes significant time working with both the salmon and trout farming industries, as well as project management and scientific research in aquaculture. Previous roles include the provision of advice to fish farmers on all aspects of business, including production and environmental issues, disease diagnosis and treatment, and product quality.

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