Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Leader Angus Campbell has hailed the launch of a Community Engagement Charter for the Scottish salmon farming industry.
The new charter formalises how companies invest and engage with the local communities where salmon farms are located.
Cllr. Angus Campbell (Ind, Steornabhagh a Deas) learned more about the Community Engagement Charter launched by the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) during a visit to Lewis Sports Centre (ISL) to meet athletes and staff from the Western Isles Island Games Association (WIIGA).
He met the athletes and staff of WIIGA with Anne MacColl (Chair, SSPO) and David Taylor (Production Manager North, The Scottish Salmon Company) and learned about the industry’s support of and commitment to local communities and the regional economy.
Anne McColl said: “As an industry we have always been engaged with local communities in many ways.
“The time is right to make a public commitment to maintaining this support and enhancing it.
“Hopefully as we grow the value of the industry in the Western Isles, communities can feel a part of that.
“It’s a joint effort between industry and communities to grow the local economy. We want to share some of the rewards with them, and I think it is very important that we are enthusiastic about collaboration. That’s what this charter is all about – it’s about formalising what we do.”
Mr Campbell, said: “Aquaculture is a major employer in the islands. It is encouraging and to be welcomed that the industry wants to work with local communities. There are many ways in which companies can support local communities and, given the population challenges the islands are facing, it is to be welcomed that they are providing jobs, particularly in the rural areas of our Islands. I welcome the SSPO’s commitment to further support our communities and to enhance this support.”
The Scottish Salmon Company which employs over 200 people at its marine freshwater sites, processing plant and offices across the Western Isles hosted the visit.
Craig Anderson, Managing Director, The Scottish Salmon Company, said: “We are delighted to launch the industry Community Engagement Charter here. The Scottish Salmon Company is committed to the local communities in which we live and work, from providing long-term employment in rural areas, to using local suppliers where possible and providing sponsorship for sports and cultural events, such as WIIGA.”
The salmon farming sector in the Western Isles, which also includes Marine Harvest and Loch Duart, employs 325 people.