The Harris Brownie pack is among more than 100 groups to have have received funding from SSC, which won the Community Initiative Award at the Aquaculture Awards on Wednesday. Photo: SSC.

Award is ‘testament to community relationships’ says salmon farmer

Scottish Salmon Company managing director Ian Laister has reiterated the firm’s commitment to the communities where it farms salmon.

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His comments come after SSC, owned by Faroese salmon farmer Bakkafrost, was presented with the Community Initiative Award at the Aquaculture Awards 2022 ceremony on Wednesday.

SSC received the award for its Healthy Communities Community Charter, established to bring people and communities together by encouraging staff to play an active part in the areas they work in and champion local causes. It builds on work already done through the company’s Community Fund, which gives grants for a variety of projects.

Ian Laister: SSC is "committed to being a responsible neighbour".

Long-term jobs

“We are committed to supporting local initiatives and creating value and long-term employment opportunities in the communities in which we live and work,” said Laister in a press release.

“The recognition from the Community Initiative Award is testament to the relationships we have worked hard to nurture within our local communities and the initiatives we have supported through our Community Fund.

“Our Healthy Living Plan sets out the principles of our commitment to being a responsible neighbour and partner to our local communities. It guides how we continue to build our commitment to our people, suppliers, communities and the environment into our business operations and our values.”

External nominations

The SSC Community Fund, launched in 2017, awards money to community groups promoting health and wellbeing or environmental stewardship. The fund has supported food banks, local schools and sports teams, and groups that organise beach cleans.

Since 2017, more than 100 staff-nominated local groups have received funding in the Western Isles, Argyll and Bute, the Highlands and Islands and North Ayrshire and Arran, and this year SSC is opening the fund up to external community nominations.

£500m investment

SSC’s owner, Bakkafrost, is investing around £500 million in the Scottish operation over five years. Most of the money will be spent on three recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) smolt facilities to grow fish to 500 grams before they are transferred to marine pens.

The big smolt policy, which is already being used by Bakkafrost in the Faroes, means the fish are more robust when they go to sea and spend less in open pens, reducing exposure to challenges such as sea lice and amoebic gill disease (AGD).

Bakkafrost has also been investing in new vessels to give SSC more capacity to treat fish for lice and AGD.