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News / Hjaltland leap forward with new hatchery

Hatchery manager Jon Walden feeding some of the just hatched salmon smolts - Photo: Hans J Marter/ShetNews

GRIEG Seafood Hjaltland’s new state of the art salmon hatchery at Girlsta is to be officially opened this Saturday.

The £15.5 million complex, which has created 16 highly skilled new jobs, has been operational for some time and will produce a total of five million juvenile salmon per annum when in full production.

The hatchery employs the latest technology in water recirculation, allowing the production of high quality juvenile salmon from a much smaller volume of freshwater than is possible using traditional hatchery technology.

This advance means that Shetland, which produces around one-third of Scotland’s farmed salmon, now has the potential to become self-sufficient in production of salmon juveniles, despite the island’s relatively modest supply of freshwater.

Regional director for Grieg Seafood Hjaltland, Sigurd Pettersen, said the investment would also reduce the carbon footprint of the salmon by reducing the need to transport salmon by boat from mainland Scotland.

Growing juvenile salmon locally also allows the company to maximise the production at its local sites by stocking bigger juvenile fish, he said.

“This investment by Grieg Seafood represents a huge leap forward for us and is tangible evidence of the company’s continuing commitment to salmon farming in Shetland.

“It will help to make us a more sustainable company for the future, both environmentally and financially,” he said ahead of the opening.

The project has been supported by a financial contribution of £314,000 from Shetland Islands Council, which has helped to trigger a further £1.1m of European funding.

Chair of the council’s development committee, Alistair Cooper, said he was pleased to see Grieg Seafood make such a positive contribution to the local aquaculture industry.

Grieg Seafood Hjaltland employs around 170 staff in Shetland at salmon farms and also at Lerwick Fish Traders Ltd., one of the largest salmon harvesting, packing plants in Shetland.

 

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