SSPO expel Grieg Seafood – Fishfarmer Magazine

SSPO expel Grieg Seafood29 April, 2014 –

THE Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO) has announced the expulsion of one of its members, Grieg Seafood.

The decision was made at a special meeting of the SSPO Board over a serious contravention of the Code of Good Practice for Scottish Finfish Aquaculture (CoGP).

Hjaltland Sea Farms Ltd (a part of Grieg Seafood Hjaltland (UK) Ltd) has been advised of its immediate removal from the industry representative body. The company is based in Shetland and operates sites in Shetland and Skye.

Scott Landsburgh, chief executive of SSPO, said that the company imported smolts without a period of quarantine, which is an issue of biosecurity – there are no human helath issues involved.

‘It is with deep disappointment that the Board of SSPO has made the decision to expel a member company. However, the importation of smolts from a country with lower health status without undertaking a quarantine period is strictly against the Code of the Good Practice for fish farming.

‘The potential consequences of bringing in smolts without quarantine are exceptionally serious for the whole Scottish industry. SSPO requires its members to participate fully in the independently audited Code of Good Practice.

‘In expressing their grave concerns about the company’s plans, other members of SSPO went to extraordinary lengths to help Hjaltland source smolts from Scotland. These offers were rejected.   

‘I am impressed by the enormous spirit of collaboration and support shown between companies to find a solution to this problem. I am, therefore, all the more disappointed that every overture was rejected and it was agreed that we should take this step.’

At the time of going to press, no-one from Hjatland Sea Farms Ltd was available to comment.

Under European legislation it is legal to import salmon smolts from another country that has equivalent fish health status; and also from ‘approved zones and compartments’ within countries that have lower fish health status. 

However, in order to protect and maintain Scotland’s high fish health status, and its reputation for world leading standards of good practice, since 2006 SSPO and its members have worked in accordance with a policy that additionally requires the quarantining and testing of smolts imported from ‘approved zones and compartments’ for a period of no less than three months.   

This policy is set out within the Code of Good Practice for Scottish Finfish Aquaculture. Hjaltland’s actions in importing live salmon smolts from an approved zone within Norway without quarantine are, therefore, in direct contravention of industry policy to which they previously subscribed.