Fish farm workers survey salmon pen from workboat

How salmon can lead the Green/Blue revolution

The tail to this crisis is going to be long and painful. There will be second waves and third waves, localised hotspots and regional lockdowns in various parts of the world not to mention the millions of job losses and mountainous government debts.

And yet, and yet – a sense is starting to build within the Scottish salmon sector that something better, stronger and more resilient could emerge from the wreckage.

Cooke Aquaculture Scotland farm technician on Orkney

Scottish salmon reaches new audiences

Flying into Kirkwall’s tiny airport you would be hard pressed to imagine anywhere else in the UK where a population of only 26,000, spread across 16 or so inhabited islands, could deliver such an incredible breadth of fine quality food and drink.

The islands’ produce ranges from renowned whiskies, gins, cheeses and meats to, chocolate and seafood, including farmed salmon that is among the best in the world. 

Akva worker involved in fish farm construction

Muck, Rum and Social Licence

There is an honesty box at the end of the pontoon set up for yachties on the Isle of Muck, off Scotland’s west coast.

Sailors stopping off for the night can moor up safely then pay a modest sum for the privilege.

The proceeds from that honesty box go to the primary school just up the hill, funding off-island trips for the children.

There are mooring buoys off the Isle of Rum too. Both the pontoon and the moorings were provided free by Mowi, the salmon farm company which has a farms off the shores of both islands.

Hamish Macdonell with the BBC's Tom Heap

Salmon: Telling Scotland's success story

My former colleagues in Grub Street were ready with the quips and the gags when I announced I was leaving newspapers after nearly 30 years to join the salmon industry.

“From poacher to poacher,” was how one wag with a culinary bent described my change of career. “Keep up with the splashes (but not the front-page variety),” was another while several commented that they had always thought my copy was a bit fishy.

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