Poll position

Despite the critics, the salmon industry is supported by people in local communities, says Hamish Macdonell. Ask anyone who has ever put an opinion poll in the field, and they will tell you that there is always a moment’s hesitation before they give it the go-ahead. That’s because, even if you believe you have a…

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Counter intelligence

February turned out to be an interesting month in terms of the retail market. Sales of chilled salmon increased by 7.8% year on year in terms of volume. The value of the sales also increased. Yet, at the same time, Tesco announced the closure of more of its meat and fish and hot food counters…

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Barriers to growth

Scottish salmon is booming – that was certainly the message from the annual export figures last month. Production is up, exports are up and prices are starting to get back to where they were so everything in the Scottish salmon garden is rosy, right? Well, not quite. A key measure of success is not how…

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Turning a blind eye

Fisheries Management Scotland (FMS) recently posted a news story from the Guardian newspaper about restoring Finland’s river ecosystems, although it doesn’t mention salmon. Earlier in January, FMS posted the news that the River Tay fishing season was to be opened by actors Robson Green and Jim Murray, and at the end of December they posted…

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After the split

It was one of my Salmon Scotland colleagues who put it best: “We have no greater access to Europe than a tilapia farmer from Zimbabwe. We are a third country now and we are being treated as such.” That shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, we knew this was going to happen. We were…

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Stability is what we need now

As I was sitting down to write this, it occurred to me just how nice it would be to go back five years; only five years! Why this popped into my mind was not just Omicron and all its concomitant Valkyries. So much is up in the air at the moment. We could talk about…

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The message

It has been three years now since the Scottish salmon sector last held a Christmas reception at Holyrood. In December 2018, dozens of MSPs were there. There were at least four cabinet secretaries, a good smattering of junior ministers as well as special advisers, political editors and columnists, all eating, drinking, laughing and appreciating the…

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New year, new beginning?

It’s hard to believe that here we are in 2022. Despite the continuing pandemic, the year that has just passed appeared to vanish as quickly as it started. Regardless of ongoing problems, farmed salmon was the year’s star performer in the fresh meat, fish and poultry sector of retail. Trade magazine The Grocer reported that…

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Festive feasts

Christmas is coming and I have noticed that my local fishmonger is already displaying some whole carp on his fish counter. Traditionally, carp are grown in Europe during the summer months when they benefit from warmer temperatures and faster growth. As winter approaches, they are left to hibernate or are harvested for the festive season.…

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Dreaming of a grey Christmas

It is difficult not to wonder where the spirit of Christmas has gone. The season of “goodwill to all” seems to have bypassed all those involved in the recent fishing dispute between the UK and France. Indeed, it was hard to know what was more depressing: the sight of flag-bedecked French fishing vessels buzzing around…

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