Shadow minister praises ‘immense contribution’ of salmon industry
Ian Murray 'gets his feet wet' by visiting Lewis salmon farm
Shadow Scotland Secretary Ian Murray has visited a west coast salmon farm to see first-hand how the industry operates.
The Edinburgh South Labour MP will be part of the UK government if his party wins the next general election as expected, and he retains his seat and is given the Scotland portfolio.
Murray toured Bakkafrost Scotland’s Loch Roag salmon farm on Lewis.
He was joined by Western Isles Labour candidate Torcuil Crichton, Glasgow South Labour candidate Gordon McKee, Bakkafrost Scotland marine operations director Iain MacIntyre, and Tavish Scott, chief executive of trade body Salmon Scotland, along with site manager David Blair.
The visit included going aboard the 2,500m³-capacity wellboat Ronjafisk, which is contracted from Sølvtrans and carries out freshwater and delousing treatments as well as transporting smolts.
The salmon farming sector employs more than 400 people in the Western Isles and contributes more than £150 million annually to the local economy, said Salmon Scotland.
“As the UK’s largest food export, Scottish salmon makes an immense contribution to our national economy,” said Murray.
In some remote coastal areas, the jobs created by the local salmon farm are the only reason that shops, restaurants, and other businesses are viable.
Shadow Scotland Secretary
“The salmon farming sector also provides vital local jobs in the Western Isles and rural areas throughout the Highlands and islands, with the farms crucial for livelihoods and communities. In some remote coastal areas, the jobs created by the local salmon farm are the only reason that shops, restaurants, and other businesses are viable.
“It is the job of government to ensure the continued success of Scottish salmon, facilitating sustainable growth with animal welfare remaining a top priority.”
Scott was pleased Murray had 'got his feet wet' by taking the time to come and see a salmon farm.
“He rightly recognises the vital importance of international trade for Scottish salmon and its contribution to the entire UK economy,” said Scott, a former Liberal Democrat MSP.
“Our sector is the economic backbone of coastal communities like the Western Isles, with 400 livelihoods directly dependent on the sector. Many of them are employed by our hosts Bakkafrost Scotland, the biggest private sector employer in the Outer Hebrides.
“With the cost-of-living crisis putting pressure on public services, the revenue generated by our farmers has never been more important.
“I am confident that, by working together, the Scottish salmon sector will successfully navigate the opportunities and challenges ahead to turbocharge the Western Isles’ and wider economy.”
Bakkafrost Scotland managing director Ian Laister that that with more than 500 staff across 54 sites on the west coast, the company – which is owned by Faroes-based salmon farmer Bakkafrost Group - remained committed to bringing long-term quality employment opportunities to what can often be among the country’s more remote and fragile communities.
“Today’s visit provided an important opportunity to share our approach to being one of the world's most vertically integrated salmon farming businesses – from feed to finished products,” said Laister.
“This ensures unrivalled traceability, consistently exceptional quality, and our world-renowned provenance.”