Inverlussa Marine Services – a family owned business based on the Isle of Mull – has been awarded a 12 month contract to supply a 21 metre purpose built vessel, Margaret Sinclair, to support The Scottish Salmon Company’s site service work across the west coast of Scotland. This will create two local jobs.
Starting in April, the charter will provide a vessel with a total crew of four, who will work on a rota, helping with a range of activities including net changes, feed deliveries and care of salmon.
The boat will be kitted out to The Scottish Salmon Company’s requirements, which includes ISO containers and pump systems to enhance safety practices in. getting treatments for the fish into the cages.
Ben Wilson, who runs Inverlussa with his father Douglas, says: ‘This is a big boost and reinforces our position as one of the leading operators in Scotland.
‘A long-term contract like this enables us to develop the business and gives us the confidence to commit further to the aquaculture industry. We’ve been able to recruit two new members of the team, taking our staff count to 23, all of whom are from the local area.’
Stewart McLelland, Chief Executive of The Scottish Salmon Company, says: ‘This investment is a key component of our business strategy as we continue to improve efficiencies across the business. The charter will support a range of activities across our West coast sites, promoting best practice.
‘Inverlussa Marine is an important supplier and we are pleased that on this occasion we can use a local supplier in order to keep the economic benefits of its business within the local community.’
The farmed salmon industry is important to the west coast of Scotland and to the Scottish economy as a whole. There are also a range of locally based secondary services it requires – such as those here from Inverlussa Marine Services.
For all of these reasons it could not be more important that this industry never triggers the melt down situation which is always on the near horizon with any process as intensive as fish farming.
For that reason, part of the way we support the industry is to be rigorous in calling it to account to clean up its act.
The necessary address to key issues around sea lice; mortality disposals; much longer fallowing of cages to allow something approaching cleaning of the sea bed below; and predator protection which precludes the shooting of seals would mean an essentially modest deployment from profits.
The results, however, along with the necessary public information on individual farm’s compliance with production and environmental requirements, would lead to better animal welfare, a cleaner marine environment and food products with reliable traceability, offering no concerns of any kind at any level .
Closed containment systems – which avoid many of the issues which anger those who have come to oppose fish farming as it is practiced here, are clearly worth exploring and it is interesting that one such farm is to trial this in Kintyre in Argyll.
Biting the bullet on fulfilling these public needs and accepting that investment to do so is required, would allow the Scottish public as a whole to embrace salmon farming at a level they have not yet been able to do. That is a situation we would very much like to see.
An industry that contributes impressive figures to the Scottish economic performance – but much less cash, with major operators headquartered in other countries and profits shipped out – and is adrift in its practices from what the general public requires to see, has solid progress to make to improve its public relations.