News / Meridian Salmon to return to Uyea isle

MERIDIAN Salmon Group have praised islanders for their ‘can do’ attitude in helping to return most of the drifting fish pens that were washed out to sea in the Christmas Day gales.

The company confirmed on Thursday that they would re-establish a salmon farm on the original site at Winna Ness, off the south coast of the isle of Uyea, off Unst, as soon as it was operationally possible.

Meanwhile the coastguard and other agencies have been given the coordinates for four of the original 12 cages, which sank with their moorings around 80 miles east of Shetland and have created a potential hazard to shipping.

Managing director Mark Warrington said that many lessons from recent events had already been learned and would be taken into account when reactivating the site.

On Wednesday government agency Marine Scotland said a full investigation was about to commence into why 12 large fish cages containing 300,000 fully grown fish ended up lost in the North Sea close to Norwegian waters. The value of the fish alone is estimated to be in the region of £3 million.


Mr Warrington said the company had been hit hard by the loss and consequent salvage operation. The financial impact will also affect third parties, such as harvesting and haulage, for several months to come.

“The commitment, effort and assistance of all involved in the recovery have been a great reflection of the specialised skills and ‘can do’ attitude in Shetland along with the support the industry has given locally,” said the salmon farm chief, who has only been in post for four months.

“We will continue to invest in farming in Unst as it gives us several unique marketing opportunities. The performance of the sites in that location is amongst the best within the company through ideal farming conditions and the hard work of the local workforce.”

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He said that as soon as it was operationally possible and equipment was available they would install a new salmon farm at the exposed Winna Ness site from where the cages disappeared.

The site is attractive as the salmon do not need to be treated for sea lice, unlike the companies other operations off Shetland’s west coast.

He said they would take into account any lessons from “the unprecedented recent event caused by a combination of extreme winds and tide”.

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