SSC's Native Hebridean salmon - the company will see average smolt sizes in Scotland increase from around 100g to 500g by 2025. Photo: SSC

RAS contract a ‘milestone’ in SSC’s hatchery plans

The Scottish Salmon Company’s transformation of its hatcheries has taken another step forward with the signing of a contract with Norwegian RAS (recirculating aquaculture system) supplier Nofitech.

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The agreement is part of a £49m investment in a state-of-the art RAS unit at the salmon producer’s Applecross site in Wester Ross.

The Scottish Salmon Company’s owner, Faroese salmon farmer Bakkafrost, has already partnered with Nofitech, with a deal agreed last year to expand its Glyvradal smolt hatchery by 13,000m³.

Bakkafrost outlined plans earlier this year to have three large RAS hatcheries for Scotland up and running by 2024.

The hatcheries will replace 11 smaller units operated by SSC and are integral to Bakkafrost’s plan to increase average smolt size in Scotland to 500g by 2025. The SSC has 60 farms, with operations on Scotland’s west coast and the Hebrides.

Robert Hundstad, Nofitech CEO

Work has been ongoing on the conversion and expansion of the Applecross site to create the first of the three new hatcheries. It is due to be ready next year.

According to Bakkafrost’s sustainability report published in April, a second large hatchery will be ready in 2023 and a third in 2024.

Growth strategy

Ian Laister, SSC managing director, said: ‘This contract marks the first important milestone in our commitment to incorporate RAS technology across all our freshwater production, which is fundamental to our growth strategy.

‘Nofitech’s experience in this field will ensure that SSC is at the leading edge of RAS technology not only at Applecross but at future freshwater facilities.’

Robert Hundstad, CEO of Nofitech, said: ‘I am delighted that the Scottish Salmon Company has chosen us as a partner for their comprehensive, exciting and future oriented RAS programme.

‘Nofitech has, from a strategic perspective, chosen to work only with the most experienced and solid players in the industry and our cooperation with the Scottish Salmon Company and Bakkafrost falls well into this direction.’

The programme at Applecross is part of a commitment by Bakkafrost to invest more than £40m a year in Scotland over the next five years.