Tavish Scott says salmon farming can play its part in keeping young people in the Highlands and islands.

Jobs and homes will halt rural population decline, says Salmon Scotland chief


The salmon farming industry can help the Scottish Government’s ambition to support and encourage young people to remain on, move to or return to the Highlands and islands, Tavish Scott, chief executive of trade body Salmon Scotland has said.

He was speaking after the Scottish Government highlighted the work of the Young Islanders network (YIN) that was launched by rural affairs secretary Mairi Gougeon in August 2022 to provide children and young people living in island communities with a platform to make their voices heard, contribute to the implementation of the Scottish Government’s National Islands Plan and engage with each other on issues that matter to them.

“By working with the YIN, Youth Scotland and the Scottish Rural and Island Youth Parliament we have a real chance to remove the barriers that stop young people from enjoying all the benefits that rural and island life bring – unique employment opportunities, a strong sense of community and access to the best of Scotland’s local produce and natural assets,” said Gougeon yesterday.

Social media

“We are going to help community councils to make better use of social media reach out to more people, and particularly younger generations, to be sure they have a say in improving local services. Our independent Expert Advisory Group on Migration and Population will also take forward research looking at population trends, migration, and mobility for young people in island and rural communities, with a particular focus on Gaelic-speaking communities.”

Scott said: “The key to tackling depopulation in the Highlands and islands is to provide well-paid, long-term, permanent jobs that root people in the communities they were born and brought up in, as well as affordable housing which allows people to live close to where they work.

“The responsible growth of the Scottish salmon farming sector is creating the jobs, and we’ll continue to press for the £10 million a year paid by salmon farmers to the Crown Estate to be spent on tackling the Highland housing crisis and providing accommodation for key workers.”