Primary production in the Scottish farm-raised salmon sector is focused around the west coast, highlands and islands in remote and rural areas of Scotland. Scottish salmon farming helps to ensure that some of the country’s most remote communities not only survive, but truly thrive.

A recent poll carried out by Ipsos in February 2022, found that the majority of residents in Scotland’s rural areas were in favour of salmon farming, largely due to the employment opportunities it offers.

In this blog, we discuss the ways in which salmon farming has provided employment, improved health and safety and created recreational opportunities for these communities.

Providing employment

Scottish salmon is the largest food export in the UK - with overseas sales exceeding £600 million last year. As a result of this demand, the Scottish salmon farming sector currently supports around 10,000 jobs in Scotland.

The North Coast and West Highlands area produce the most fish, representing 26% of the total. Argyll and Clyde is next with 23% of production, followed by Shetland with 20% of production, the Outer Hebrides with 19% and Orkney on 11%.

Find out more about the economic impact of farm-raised salmon in this article.

Health & Safety

With research showing a rise in the number of people going into cardiac arrest, several Scottish salmon farms have taken action to help save lives by installing defibrillators in the local communities where they operate. 

So far, Scottish Sea Farms has installed 15 defibrillators and produced an online interactive map to pinpoint their exact locations – seven in Shetland, three in Orkney, three on Mull and two in the village of Barcaldine in Argyll.

Cooke Aquaculture has also installed 12 defibrillators at its shorebases and office locations, all purchased through the charity Lucky2BHere. Six defibrillators are in Shetland, two in Orkney and four in mainland Scotland and in Cumbria. 

Meanwhile, Mowi has installed defibrillators in most of its farming site locations in Scotland, with a total of 30 which can be used by local communities if required. Mowi has also supported or fully-funded another seven devices organised by community groups over the past three years. 

On Skye, Organic Sea Harvest is in the process of installing a defibrillator outside a shop in Staffin, which will be available for use by residents and tourists - the first of three devices the company hopes to provide.

Boosting recreational opportunities

Salmon farmers work hard to earn and keep the trust of the local communities that they live and work in by getting involved with community initiatives - from sponsoring sportspeople to helping to fund food banks.

For example, Loch Duart Salmon supported the renovation of the Scourie Community Hall to hold Jujitzu classes for young people in the area. They also sponsored Kerry McPhee, the Scottish mountain bike and cycle cross champion.

In Orkney, Cooke Aquaculture have backed the Orkney food bank and a number of sports teams including Orkney Junior Badminton, Orkney Ladies Hockey and the Island Games Orkney swimming team.

Meanwhile, Scottish Sea Farms have made great efforts to provide for communities by supporting the Isle of Mull Community Bus and the Oban Pipe Band.

The 26th Argyll Sandbank Cub Scouts wassupported by the Scottish Salmon Company and Scottish shinty is supported by Mowi, whilst the Ullapool Smokehouse stocksWester Ross salmon.

These examples are just some of the diverse ways in which Scottish salmon farms help to enrich the communities they operate within, to the benefit of residents, their employees and the local area at large.

The record number of salmon exports and the jobs provided by the farm-raised salmon sector at this point in time, give a great indication that the sector will continue to grow responsibly and sustainably in the rural coastal regions of Scotland that we operate in - providing even more vital jobs to boost local economies.

The care for local communities, demonstrated by the installation of defibrillators and the variety of supportive endeavours, will only help to increase the nation’s confidence in the farm-raised salmon sector.

Read more about how Scottish salmon farms support their local communities here.