TWENTY five jobs have been lost at Shetland’s largest salmon producer after exceptionally poor results during the last three months of last year.
Norwegian-owned Grieg Seafood blames its performance on high mortality rates due to sea lice infestation and algae blooms.
The multinational fish farming company said they are still committed to Shetland and striving to produce salmon in a more efficient way.
Harvesting volume during October/November and December 2015 dropped by 37 per cent to 3,974 tonnes, compared to the same period in 2014.
The situation was further exacerbated due to the strong pound in relation to the Norwegian kroner, which resulted in difficult trading conditions.
Speaking from Bergen, chief executive Andreas Kvame said the company was now able to produce larger and healthier smolts thanks to its new salmon hatchery at Girlsta.
This, he said, would shorten the salmon production cycle from 24 to just 18 months.
The company is also increasing its use of lumpsucker fish to clean salmon of sea lice.
“We are not reducing our presence in Shetland, but becoming a little more efficient,” Kvame said.
“It is something that we have to do, as we can’t continue in the same way with the losses we had.
“We will be producing the same amount of fish with fewer people by focussing on the best sites.
“We also have improved the efficiency in the factory and that is why we sadly had to reduce the number of people employed there.”
He added that Grieg Seafood was still one of the largest private employers in Shetland providing between 170 and 175 jobs.
Some of the losses incurred in Shetland have been compensated for by the company’s good performance in its Finnmark, Rogaland and Canadian operation.
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