‘End of an era’ as SSPO shuts Shetland office

The SSPO's David Sandison who has represented the Shetland industry for more than 20 years

THE SCOTTISH Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO) is set to close its office in Lerwick, leading to the loss of two full-time equivalent jobs, the Shetland News reported today.

The organisation says it is moving all of its operations to its headquarters in Edinburgh, with the Shetland office due to shut at the end of January.

General manager David Sandison is set to be made redundant after more than 20 years representing the local industry.

He was appointed as the manager of the then Shetland Salmon Farmers’ Association (SSFA) in the late 1990s.

The organisation was renamed Shetland Aquaculture to reflect the move to other species, namely cod and sea trout, being farmed in local waters at the time.

In 2014, Shetland Aquaculture became part of the SSPO and Sandison was made the Shetland manager for the national organisation.

The Shetland News described the move as ‘the end of an era for Shetland’ as a distinct Scottish salmon growing area.

Alongside Sandison, two other part-time staff members, including Anne-Lise Anderson who has been working for the local salmon farming industry for 30 years, have also been made redundant.

SSPO chief executive Julie Hesketh-Laird said: ‘The closure of SSPO’s Shetland office will mean the loss of three personnel, which represents two full-time equivalents. No decisions like this are taken lightly and this was a very difficult one to take.

‘The salmon sector has changed a lot over the last 20 to 30 years: we have to change to adapt, too.

‘There has been a lot of consolidation in the sector and we no longer represent a large number of smaller operators in remote locations.

‘We represent seven companies, most of whom are based in or around the central belt. Modern communication means we can liaise with all our member companies more swiftly and surely from Edinburgh than we ever could do before, even with offices in different parts of the country.

‘The SSPO works extremely closely with its member companies. One of our member companies is headquartered in Shetland, two others have a significant presence there.

‘We are confident those companies will give us a strong and powerful voice in Shetland as we go forward.’