Soil Association visits Shetland Isles –organic aquaculture attracts interest –

Soil Association visits Shetland Isles –organic aquaculture attracts interest Published:  23 June, 2006

FROM today until Monday the Shetland Isles will host an unprecedented visit by senior representatives of the Soil Association –

the UK’s leading environmental charity promoting sustainable, organic farming and championing human health.

Shetland is well known for its beef and lamb producers, a significant number of whom are organic. Less well known, but even more economically important, is the unique combination of organic fish grown in the islands: organic farmed salmon and cod, and – as soon as the relevant standards are finalised – rope-grown mussels. Nowhere else in the world boasts such a range of organic aquaculture.

The visit will be hosted by Drew Ratter, Chairman of Economic Development for Shetland Islands Council. He said, “It’s important to Shetland that the Soil Association fully supports what we do. Shetland’s brand is targeted at the ‘successful idealist’ and the Soil Association brand is the best known and most trusted by that market segment. Organic aquaculture represents a major opportunity for Shetland’s producers who want to be competitive in high-quality markets, and whose husbandry and growing conditions are second to none.”

Hugh Raven, director of Soil Association Scotland, said,

“We are delighted to be visiting some of the most innovative and far-sighted organic producers anywhere in the world. Organic aquaculture practised to Soil Association standards produces the highest quality fish that money can buy, and Shetland’s deserved reputation as a near pristine environment could see it becoming a global centre of excellence for sustainable aquaculture.”

The Soil Association visitors are a unique party – senior representatives of the £8m turn-over charity, including both trustees and senior staff. They will be accompanied by a small group of independent journalists and commentators. The strength of the Soil Association delegation to Shetland indicates the importance the organisation attaches to the development of organic aquaculture. is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.