The Scottish Salmon Company's (SSC) post-smolt project has just been awarded up to GBP £5 million in public sector funding. Highlands and Islands Enterprise approved a £3m investment, while Marine Scotland confirmed their £3m investment in the project.

'A central aim is to increase smolt size from around 100g to 500g in an ecologically sustainable way using innovative Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) technology. It will include innovative husbandry and enhancing smolt testing and vaccination methods to improve fish welfare while increasing production,' SSC said in a press release from the 8th December.

By having greater control over the freshwater rearing environment, the length of time smolts spend in the freshwater phase of production can be increased. The fish are most at risk to environmental and biological challenges such as predation and disease whilst in the marine phase, which will be shortened. In doing so, this reduces biological risk and ensures greater production.

The project will create around 30 rural jobs and advance salmon farming in Scotland. Ian Laister, the Managing Director of SSC commented on this:

'We are committed to investing in the remote and rural communities in which we live and work. Our investment in recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) is part of our commitment to become the leading and most sustainable salmon producer in Scotland.

'Our RAS facility at Applecross will be fully operational by 2023 and will be the largest of its kind in Scotland, with plans for an additional two RAS facilities.

'This is fundamental to our overall sustainable growth strategy and investment programme over the next five years, which will transform the business.'

In her announcement of the funding, the Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon explained: 'The project will deliver on improved fish and welfare, applies innovation to address key challenges and contributes towards sustainability. It also supports the creation of new jobs which will boost the wider economy.

'It is an essential part of our green recovery, Scotland's largest food export and a huge part of our food and drink success story.'

The Scottish Salmon Company currently employs 600 people across 60 sites, in economically fragile parts of Scotland's coast and islands. It is owned by Bakkafrost Group, one of the world's largest salmon producers. It is committed to incorporating RAS into all freshwater production and strengthening farming operations in the marine environment.

For more information visit Scottish Salmon Company's website, HERE.

Image credit: Scottish Salmon Company

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