Minister opens Inverkerry organic smolt unit

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Scotland’s Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon has officially unveiled a salmon hatchery which has been upgraded to meet strict organic standards.

The Inverkerry Hatchery and Smolt Unit, operated by breeding and selection business Hendrix Genetics, is located at Gairloch in Wester Ross, and will produce around 1.2 million salmon smolts each year.

A key customer will be Organic Sea Harvest, the independent salmon farmer based on Skye, which is certified to Soil Association standards as an organic producer.

The upgrade of the Hendrix Genetics site directly supports five local jobs and ensures the hatchery will have a long-term future supplying its partner Organic Sea Harvest with quality smolts, the company said.

Mairi Gougeon said: “This significant investment in the new facilities at Inverkerry is another example of how Scotland’s aquaculture industry is championing and driving innovation.

“Such innovation will ensure the sector continues to deliver improvements, in this case to fish health and welfare.

“We can be rightly proud of the Scottish salmon success story, which contributes so significantly to our economy.

“It is imperative the aquaculture industry, and its supply chain, continues to invest in research, development and innovation, to support the sector’s long term sustainability.”

Ove Thu, chief executive of Organic Sea Harvest, said: “With the opening of the upgraded Gairloch hatchery, the production cycle of the fine organic salmon from Isle of Skye is complete.

“Thanks to our friends at Hendrix, we have established the safe and steady supply of high quality smolts we need for today´s production at Organic Sea Harvest.

“There is also some room for further investments to support our ambitions to grow.”

Jarl van den Berg, general manager of Hendrix Genetics, commented: “We are proud to operate under Soil Association certification, and by the time it comes to eat the nutritious salmon we produce together with Organic Sea Harvest, all the consumers can do so with the knowledge that our fish have been raised and lived their lives to the highest standards.”

Industry body Salmon Scotland has welcomed the hatchery upgrade as a positive move for the sector. Chief Executive Tavish Scott said: “Scottish salmon is the best in the world because we adhere to the strictest animal welfare and sustainability standards, and this massive investment into the Inverkerry hatchery will deliver the highest organic certification.

“The successful partnership between Organic Sea Harvest and Hendrix Genetics is helping to deliver on our sustainability pledge to be world-leading in the provision of nutritious food produced in the most responsible way.”

Inverkerry Hatchery and Smolt Unit, Gairloch

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