Good VIBES for eco conscious salmon farmers

(From left to right): Partnership Scotland category sponsor Dr Peter Neilson from Glenmorangie with Iona Hodge from Local Energy Scotland, Daniel Alkil from Pure Energy Centre, Paul Condy from the Scottish Salmon Company , David Macleod from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and Gillian Wilson from Community Energy Scotland

TWO Scottish salmon farmers have been recognised in this year’s VIBES Scottish Environment Business Awards, which are given to organisations that contribute to sustainable development.

The Scottish Salmon Company (SSC) won the Partnership Scotland Award, along with its collaborators in the Outer Hebrides Local Energy Hub (OHLEH) project.

Together with Pure Energy Centre (PEC), Community Energy Scotland and local government body Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CnES), they created a local circular energy economy initiative.

The OHLEH project involves the transfer of fish waste from SSC’s processing plant on Lewis. This is integrated with other local household and garden waste in an anaerobic digester and broken down to produce biogas.

The biogas fuels a combined heat and power plant, with some of the electricity generated used to drive an electrolyser supplied by the PEC.

This in turn produces green hydrogen and green oxygen for use at SSC’s hatchery in Lewis, as well as providing fuel for the local authority’s hydrogen powered bin lorry.

Craig Anderson, chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Company, said: ‘Winning the VIBES Partnership Scotland Award not only recognises the commitment and expertise of the OHLEH project partners, but also is a great example of local collaboration which could act as a blueprint for national best practice, not just by the salmon farming industry but across many other sectors.’

The VIBES, now in their 20th year, recognise Scottish businesses which showcase best practice, taking significant steps to improve or reduce their impact on the environment.

The awards encourage the efficient use of resources, strive to improve environmental performance and support sustainable development including social benefits through involvement with the local community.

Also nominated for an award was Wester Ross Fisheries, shortlisted in the Innovating Scotland category for its 100 per cent use of cleaner fish to tackle sea lice at its farms.

Wester Ross managing director Gilpin Bradley said: ‘The whole team is thrilled to be shortlisted for such a prestigious award; being a finalist against tough competition is an honour.

‘It takes a great deal of commitment, passion and dedication by our salmon farmers, some of whom are now third generation, to tackle some of the environmental challenges we are facing.

‘Salmon farmers are always focused on developing farming practices which are the most sustainable and we are always committed to plan for the next generation, as well as growing delicious salmon.

‘We are proud to have played a part in growing one of the Highlands and islands’ most successful sectors in the last 50 years and keeping many of the Highland communities alive.’