Marine Harvest Scotland has bought Western Isles based Lewis Salmon as part of its ongoing expansion to meet global demand for farmed salmon.
But as Alan Sutherland, Managing Director of Marine Harvest Scotland explained, a major reason for the purchase is to maintain fish health: “We operate a very strict regime on our farms to avoid the risk of spreading infection or sea lice. For this to be effective, it’s best if we can manage all the farms within a particular loch. By purchasing Lewis Salmon we can grow the fish and fallow sites in a way which protects fish welfare and maintains the high quality of the salmon.
Amongst the assets which have been purchased for an undisclosed sum, are two fish farm sites at Loch Leurbost, including Crown Estate leases and SEPA discharge consents. The pens, nets, vehicles and other equipment were also included in the sale together with the fish, which have since been harvested. The sites will now lie fallow for some time before being stocked at a time to fit in with the other farms in the area.
Alan Sutherland added: “We’ve been salmon farmers in the Outer Hebrides for a long time now and we’re proud to grow our salmon in such pristine waters and also to employ local people in what are often fragile, rural economies. The purchase of Lewis Salmon will help to secure existing jobs in the area and allow us to continue to grow salmon of outstanding quality.”