SHETLAND’s largest salmon producer Grieg Seafood has experienced a difficult start to the year due to the high cost of disease treatment and low harvesting figures.
Last year, the Gremista-based company was forced to close its smokehouse after Tesco withdrew from stocking the WildWater smoked salmon range.
The company has also mothballed its filleting department because of a lack of fish.
Managing director Sigurd Pettersen said a core staff of 50 was kept busy in the processing factory gutting and packaging salmon.
On Monday, the company’s headquarters in Bergen said Grieg Seafood was experiencing “high cost on harvested fish in the company’s European regions”.
Pettersen added the company’s standards for sealice treatment plus damage done to fish affected by algal bloom at the Scottish west coast had contributed to a drop in profitability.
Meanwhile, the company’s own fish farms have taken delivery of the first smolts produced at the new Girlsta hatchery.
Pettersen said: “The volumes in Shetland are down because of the site structure we have. Every second year our volumes will drop because we should have more farming sites to balance that.
“The quantities that come out of the water here in Shetland really do not justify keeping the smoking and filleting department open.
“Sea lice is a challenge everywhere, but the combination with algae blooms which damage the gills of the fish and sea lice was a complication we could have done without.”
But he said the outlook for the rest of the year was more positive – although he was unable to say when the company might be in a position to take on more staff.
“What fish we have in the sea is growing very well. Last week we had our first shipment of smolts from the new hatchery, probably the best smolts we ever have had delivered to our sites up here,” Pettersen added.
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 400 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News