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Jamie Young has been encouraged by the SSPO's Sustainability Charter. Photo: Gael Force.
Jamie Young has been encouraged by the SSPO's Sustainability Charter. Photo: Gael Force.

Fish Farming Expert has asked individuals connected to the salmon farming industry about their year, and what they hope for in 2021.

We continue the series with Jamie Young, sales director for Inverness-based aquaculture industry supplier Gael Force Group.

The Covid-19 pandemic has made 2020 a difficult year for many businesses and organisations. How has it affected yours?

There is no doubt that the unforeseen nature of Covid presented us with new challenges and although it may have hindered some elements of the plans we had the beginning of the year, it added extra focus in ensuring that we were 100% behind our customers in the critically important food production sector and were able to maintain a strong and committed service and support throughout.

When I think about other ways that Covid has had an effect, it has further emphasised the resilience of the whole industry and of our own team at Gael Force in the face of strong challenge.

What other factors have had a bearing on your business/work?

Personally, I have missed the normal freedom, getting out and about to spend time with customers, to learn from them and hear about their current challenges and support our drive on innovation, quality, and service. But nonetheless we have managed to keep gathering information and share ideas, develop new products, and use this industry feedback and input in all aspects of what we do.

What was the most significant event of 2020 for your company/organisation?

I think the very nature of this year has meant that everything has felt steady throughout, although without doubt delivering Scotland’s first real turnkey, project-managed farm installation (the Scottish Salmon Company’s East Tarbert Bay site at Gigha) was a terrific achievement. 

We also said farewell to a few stalwarts this year due to retirement, so in some ways it has been an end of an era, which of course holds significance in the legacy they leave behind and the ongoing journey and story of Gael Force.

What would you like to see happen in 2021 to help the Scottish fish farming industry thrive?

In the near future a safe return to normality where the hospitality industry is able to thrive again is going to be very important.

I also think the launch of the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation’s Sustainability Charter under the new leadership of Tavish Scott takes the sector in a very positive direction and has every intention of helping the industry thrive. I am excited about the part we can play in that, working with the industry to support with product development, innovation and service to drive this forward.

The Looking Back, Thinking Ahead series concludes tomorrow with the responses of Ben Hadfield, chief operating officer farming for Mowi Scotland, Ireland and the Faroes.