Gilpin Bradley receiving his second Ambassador of the Year from host Nicky Marr at the Highlands and Islands Food & Drink Awards last year.

Salmon farming veteran’s cancer battle

Gilpin Bradley preparing for tough treatment period and return to good health after handing over leadership of Wester Ross Fisheries


Gilpin Bradley, who resigned as managing director of Wester Ross Fisheries on Saturday, stepped down because he is facing a period of gruelling treatment for cancer, the company has said.

Bradley’s decision to relinquish his role was first announced by Wester Ross Fisheries owner Mowi last week, and Wester Ross Fisheries has since given more details about the move.

It said Wester Ross, which was bought by Mowi in 2022, will retain its exclusive individuality and continue to be an independently managed Scottish salmon producer.

“Gilpin retires on health grounds, having recently been diagnosed with cancer. With the indomitable spirit for which he is well known, he is preparing for a gruelling treatment period and a return to his former good health. In the meantime, Wester Ross will be in the capable hands of Mowi and the committed custodians of the long-established Wester Ross team,” Wester Ross stated.

With the indomitable spirit for which he is well known, Gilpin is preparing for a gruelling treatment period and a return to his former good health

Wester Ross Fisheries

Bradley has been a leading light and champion of Scottish salmon, particularly in the export market, for decades. His father, Dr Robin Bradley, pioneered the early research into salmon farming at Ardnish in the 1960’s, for Marine Harvest, which was then a subsidiary of Unilever and later became Mowi.

Wester Ross said that without this crucial work and the significant research funding by Unilever, Scottish salmon would not be the success story that it is today.

Gilpin Bradley has spent his childhood and most of his career around salmon.

Bradley cut his teeth feeding salmon from his father’s backpack as a toddler and grew up in a house in which a steady stream of farm staff sought a seemingly never-ending supply of scones emanating from his mother Dorothy’s kitchen.

He attended school in Arisaig, then Ullapool, and apart from a few years in London at Morgan Grenfell Investment Bank, has spent his working life farming salmon in the West Highlands of Scotland.

Management buyout

Wester Ross Fisheries, which produces between 1,000 and 2,000 gutted weight tonnes of salmon annually, was founded by Alan Mann and Robin Bradley. Following a successful management buyout in 2006, the company was run by Gilpin Bradley, David Robinson, Hugh Richards and Colin Milne.

Bradley has steered its course ever since and is responsible for the creation of the Wester Ross brand. Known for favouring an “all-natural” approach to slowly grown, medicine free and hand fed artisan salmon, Wester Ross consistently achieves a premium price. The company said its “carefully chosen and time-honoured traditional methods and skills” are kept alive at Wester Ross and are integral to its distinctly different farming practices.

Following the sale to Mowi in June 2022, Bradley stressed the independence Wester Ross retained as part of the deal.

Artisan product

“There is enormous pleasure in the smallest being bought by the largest in the world, and yet managing to retain its own unique position as a premium, artisan product in the marketplace.”

Bradley is a former chair of the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (now Salmon Scotland) and was twice awarded the Highlands and Islands Ambassador of the Year.

Wester Ross said: “We thank him; we are in awe of his achievements; it goes without saying that we shall miss him and of course; we wish him well. Gilpin Bradley: the man; the ambassador; the salmon farmer.”