Scottish Salmon Company to review processing jobs in Western Isles –

Scottish Salmon Company to review processing jobs in Western Isles Published:  08 January, 2013

The Scottish Salmon Company has announced that it is to review its harvesting and production staff requirements in the Western Isles of Scotland.

According to the Stornoway Gazette, the salmon company has begun a consultation process with its staff.

Stewart McLelland, SSC’s chief executive, said: “We deeply regret this situation, but hope that we can reassure local communities that once more sites start to produce fish, we will once again have the volumes that make full production at Marybank and Arnish viable again.

“Despite our best efforts to correct the imbalance of production cycles across the company’s operation, we have not been able to establish and develop new sites as originally expected within the necessary timescales. This process of expansion continues but, for the moment, there is now a time lag before sufficient numbers of next generation of fish can be harvested and processed through Marybank.

“Coupled with this is the fact that our fish were affected by Amoebic Gill Disease. This naturally occurring amoeba which impacts fish health is exacerbated by warm weather and a lack of rain and, like many in the industry, we were affected at a critical time last summer.

“Finally, the uncharacteristically low market price for salmon in 2012 meant that our income has been reduced. When combined with insufficient fish to process, it is another reason why we cannot operate Marybank, in the short term, without cutting jobs.”

The Scottish Salmon Company  employs over 380 people in the West Coast of Scotland. It started an investment plan for 10 new sites in 2010 and while two have been achieved in Highland and Argyll and the company is currently consulting on applications in Harris and another in Argyll.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan, and MP, Angus MacNeil, have responded to the announcement by the Scottish Salmon Company that they intend to reduce the size of their workforce at their fish processing facilities in the Isle of Lewis during the course of this year.

Mr MacNeil and Dr Allan said that this would obviously be a cause of concern to many of the families who depend on the company and that it was now important that public agencies and the company work together to ensure that as many of these jobs as possible could be reinstated over time.

Angus MacNeil commented: “It is obviously concerning that the Scottish Salmon Company have begun a consultation process on job losses.  I understand that the current difficulties are due to the lack of available volumes this year and the Amoebic Gill Disease, which affected many in the Salmon farming industry.

“It is however pleasing that there is a long term commitment to continue production and processing in the Western Isles.

“Again, we realise how important the salmon farming sector is in these islands.

“We should all be aware that the best quality salmon in the world probably comes from the Hebrides and the Scottish Salmon Company is at the forefront of this and also in providing much needed employment in our islands.”

Alasdair Allan commented: “Clearly this news has an impact on the lives of many people in the islands and comes in the midst of what are already economically difficult times. I will be speaking to Stewart McLelland, CEO of the Scottish Salmon Company, and will also be in touch with Enterprise Minister, Fergus Ewing about this subject.

“The company has indicated that it intends this reduction in the workforce to be temporary and it is now obviously in everyone’s interest that we all work together to make sure that the company is in a position to start taking people on again as soon as possible.

“I have a meeting with Mr McLelland arranged shortly where I will be raising these issues and am more than willing to meet with any individual who is concerned about their circumstances.”