Scottish Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon has unveiled the Inverkerry Hatchery and Smolt Unit at Gairloch in Wester Ross that will organically produce around 1,2 million young salmon every year. Afterward, all will be transferred a short distance to the wild sea to mature.
Precisely, the site supports five local jobs and ensures the hatchery will have a long-term future by supplying its partner Organic Sea Harvest with quality smolts. It is located at the end of the River Kerry, the Inverkerry site was first built in 1984, with the upgrade getting underway in 2020.
In addition, Organic Sea Harvest is certified organic by the Soil Association. The certification ensures the highest levels of animal welfare and the health of the marine environment, with stocking densities of 99% water and only 1% fish.
Salmon Scotland considers this a step forward to the sector’s ambition to become world-leading in the provision of healthy, tasty, nutritious food, produced most responsibly and sustainably.
Fish health and welfare as priorities
To sum up, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, Mairi Gougeon, said: “This significant investment in the new facilities at Inverkerry is another example of how Scotland’s aquaculture industry is championing and driving innovation. Such innovation will ensure the sector continues to deliver improvements, in this case, to fish health and welfare.”
Moreover, Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, noted: “The successful partnership between Organic Sea Harvest and Hendrix Genetics is helping to deliver on our sustainability pledge to be world-leading in the provision of nutritious food produced in the most responsible way.”
Also, Jarl van den Berg, general manager of Hendrix Genetics, confirmed: “We’re proud to be part of this origin story, producing the highest quality organic smolts for Organic Sea Harvest, which go on to thrive at sea.”
Finally, Ove Thu, chief executive of Organic Sea Harvest, stated: “With the opening of the upgraded Gairloch hatchery, the production cycle of the fine organic salmon from the Isle of Skye is complete. Thanks to our friends at Hendrix, we have established the safe and steady supply of high-quality smolts we need for today´s production at Organic Sea Harvest.”