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Marine / Grieg Seafood lose 200,000 juvenile salmon in fire

Grieg Seafood's Hillbrook hatchery in Girlsta. Photo: Hans J. Marter/ShetnewsThe Girlsta hatchery

AROUND 200,000 baby salmon were lost at the Girlsta hatchery as a result of a fire in the plant’s oxygen delivery system on Wednesday afternoon.

The 40 gram sized juvenile fish (known as parr) were starved of oxygen when employees had to switch off the power to the plant while firefighters from Lerwick and Scalloway were tackling the blaze.

Hatchery owner Grieg Seafood Shetland said the rest of the three million fish at the site were saved and that production has returned to normal.

Part of the equipment in the parr unit was damaged, but the building as well as the plant’s other units – for eggs, fry and smolts – were unaffected by the incident.

Managing director Grant Cumming said the fire would not impact on the company’s planned smolt output to sea.

The building and the fish were insured, and the event will not have significant economic impact on the company, he said.

“Most importantly, no employees got hurt during this incident. Staff did exactly what they were trained to do in such events, which minimised the impact of the fire,” Cumming said on Thursday morning.

“I want to thank the team at Girlsta for their prompt action and problem solving which have minimised the scale of the incident. I also want to thank the Shetland fire brigade and our engineering supplier Ocean Kinetics for responding so quickly.”

Grieg Seafood has launched an investigation in what happened to avoid similar incidents in the future.

The company is Shetland’s largest salmon farming company with an average annual production of 22,000 tonnes.

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