News / Salmon jobs safe

Meridian Salmon lost an entire fish farm to the 100mph gales at Christmas 2011.

JOBS at one of Shetland’s largest salmon businesses appear to be safe after a major multinational deal has left their future ownership uncertain.

Meridian Salmon, which runs salmon farms on Unst, Yell and Shetland’s west side, was sold to Scotland’s largest fish farming business Marine Harvest earlier this year when it took over parent company Morpol.

However European competition rules forced Marine Harvest to sell on part of the Morpol business to avoid it controlling more than 40 per cent of salmon farming in Scotland.

On Tuesday Marine Harvest announced it was going to sell its farm sites in Shetland and Orkney.

Chief executive Alf Helge Arskog said they had already been approached by other salmon companies wishing to take over the northern isles operations, but said it could take up to six months to finalise a deal.

“First we will make a prospectus for what is for sale, then we will invite indicative offers, then binding offers and finally we will select the best quote,” Aarskog said.


“Initially this could take six months. Obviously there is room to apply for more time if we need to ,but I don’t think we will as there has already been many companies interested in this.”

Aarskog said they had purchased Morpol to acquire its enormous downstream processing business.

It made more sense to keep the Scottish fish farms as the company has no history in the northern isles, he said.

Meridian produces 11,000 tonnes of salmon in Shetland and a further 7,000 tonnes in Orkney.

It is one of the three largest salmon businesses in Shetland behind Grieg Seafood Hjaltland and equal to Scottish Sea Farms.

Meanwhile the Scottish government has launched a new website providing up to date information about Scotland’s aquaculture industry, which can be viewed at http://aquaculture.scotland.gov.uk

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