SCOTTISH Sea Farms announced today that it spent more than £100 million buying goods and services from local businesses in 2017.
This was up £13.9 million on 2016 and is driven by a long standing company policy to ‘buy Scottish’ wherever possible.
The £100 million represents 85 per cent of Scottish Sea Farms’ total spend on suppliers, and was invested in many small to medium-sized enterprises.
The company revealed that it procured goods and services from 709 local suppliers across Scotland. It spent most on feed, nutrition and ensuring optimum fish health, followed by the construction of an innovative new freshwater facility at Barcaldine, near Oban.
The salmon farmer, which operates 46 farm sites, two processing plants and employs 449 people, achieved an average spend of £141,474 per Scottish based supplier.
Scottish Sea Farms managing director Jim Gallagher (pictured) said: ‘The communities in which we farm are integral to our success, from their natural resources to their local workforces and businesses.
‘It seems only fitting therefore that these same communities should derive maximum value in return; something we are proud to have grown again in 2017 – and will strive to continue growing in 2018 and beyond.’
The news comes on the back of the recent Scottish Salmon Farming Economic Report, commissioned by the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, which highlighted that the sector contributes £558 million to the national economy in gross value added and spends a total of £390 million on local suppliers and services.
Minister for the Rural Economy and Connectivity Fergus Ewing MSP welcomed the Scottish Sea Farms figures, saying they ‘show the scale of the support that Scottish aquaculture provides for rural businesses, protecting and creating jobs, and supporting communities’.
‘The support they offer for research and innovation is also invaluable in ensuring the long-term future of the industry.
‘I fully support Scottish Sea Farms’ ethos of supporting local suppliers and this is something that I encourage right across our food and drink sector.’
One such local supplier is Gael Force, headquartered in Inverness, which saw an increase in turnover of close to 45 per cent in 2017 and added 50 new jobs.
Managing director Stewart Graham said: ‘Almost all of this growth can be attributed to orders from the aquaculture industry.
‘It’s the ongoing support of companies such as Scottish Sea Farms that has propelled us on to develop new innovative technologies and services – something we will continue to do in 2018 with a planned £1m investment in increased capacity and the development of new products.’
Meanwhile, Jim Traynor, chairman of net manufacturers W&J Knox in Kilbirnie, Ayrshire, said: ‘Few people would connect Ayrshire with aquaculture, yet the positive impact of the industry is keenly felt, with Scottish Sea Farms’ contracts helping protect 63 jobs in an area of otherwise high unemployment – not forgetting the onward spend within the local community.’
And Iain Forbes, director of Fusion Marine, based near Oban, which recently received a £1 million order from Scottish Sea Farms for new fish farm pens, also highlighted the knock-on effects of such investment.
‘Hauliers, B&Bs, ferry travel, generators, welfare units and sundries – each and every pen we install for Scottish Sea Farms generates business both for the area local to us and the remote communities in which we work,’ he said.
‘Often, this is for months at a time during winter when revenue from tourism is traditionally lower.’
Scottish Sea Farms is owned by the Norwegian salmon companies SalMar and Leroy.