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Marine / Value of isles salmon reaches new high

THE VALUE of salmon produced by Shetland farms last year reached more than £285 million.

Nearly 40,000 tonnes of fish was produced, with 288 people employed in the sector locally.

The figures are included in the Scottish Fish Farm Production Survey for 2022.

The report includes figures dating back to 2013, and the value of salmon produced in Shetland for last year is the highest over the last decade.

When it came to smolts (young salmon), production rose from 2.9 million in 2021 to 3.96 million in 2022.

Despite that, tonnage for 2022 is down slightly compared on the last year, from 43,770.

Across Scotland production of Atlantic salmon decreased by 18 per cent.

Cabinet secretary for rural affairs, land reform and islands Mairi Gougeon said this was in part down to some companies harvesting smaller fish to support health and welfare.

“Scotland’s aquaculture sector is a significant contributor to our economy, generating approximately £885 million GVA and an estimated 11,700 jobs while producing healthy and nutritious products,” she added.

“It is good to see a small uplift in direct employment in the sector, and to see innovations and new strategies being deployed by the sector having a positive impact.”

Meanwhile new figures on Scottish salmon survival rates show that the sector continues to make progress in managing environmental challenges in the sea.

That is the view from industry body Salmon Scotland.

Preliminary data for September 2023 indicates that survival was above 96.5 per cent, up on the 95.3 per cent recorded in September last year.

Dr Iain Berrill, head of technical at Salmon Scotland, said: “There is no question that 2023 has been a challenging year, but the ongoing hard work by our farmers has provided good conditions for their salmon, despite record-breaking seawater temperatures here in the UK and globally.”

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Meanwhile salmon farm company Scottish Sea Farms recently revealed plans for a large development to the west of South Whiteness.

The Billy Baa salmon farm, which could cost more than £4 million, would consolidate other sites the company holds in the area.

Scottish Sea Farms’ vision for Billy Baa is to have nine 160m salmon pens and one 120m pen, secured by a 125m mooring grid and with a surface area of 19,480m2.

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