• Home
  • News
  • Partner members of Salmon Scotland: Q&A with Aquascot
May 31st 2022

In 2022, Salmon Scotland was pleased to expand its membership to include twelve new partners from its supply chain including Aquascot.

Salmon Scotland expanded its membership to include partners from our supply chain in recognition of the essential role they play in supporting our Scottish salmon producers and the significant and sustainable contribution they make to local and national economies.

Aquascot, located in Alness in the Scottish highlands, is one of the largest employee-owned businesses in Scotland. They are a dedicated supplier of salmon and loch trout to Waitrose, sourcing salmon from across the Scottish sector.

In this blog, we talk to Andrew Davie, Head of Aquaculture at Aquascot, to discover more about their business, the role it plays in the larger Scottish farm-raised salmon sector and why they chose to become members of Salmon Scotland.

The role of Aquascot in the Scottish farm-raised salmon sector

“Aquascot’s primary business is processing responsibly-sourced salmon and trout into food products such as fillets, loins and portions, lightly smoked salmon, and an extensive range of easy-to-cook meals exclusively for Waitrose.

“We take our role as a major processor of fresh Scottish salmon very seriously, and we engage with farming partners, governmental bodies, NGOs, academics and clients on an ongoing basis – pursuing continuous improvement at every stage of our processes.

“Informed by our values, our expertise, the third-party organisations we engage with and our desire to raise sustainability and welfare standards to new heights, our ‘feet on the farm’ policies seek first to understand the issues and processes that are prevalent and then encourage close control of husbandry practices by the farmers we work with.

“These policies seek to minimise negative impacts through embracing innovation, never skipping the details and striving for continuous improvement.

“We work in close association with Waitrose, helping them translate the ambition of the Waitrose Agricultural Strategy into tangible action across our supplying farms and thus encouraging advances in sustainable and ethical farming methods within the sector.”

The decision to join Salmon Scotland

“We source our salmon exclusively from the Scottish salmon industry, so we have a vested interest in our sector’s direction of travel. We have a long-standing relationship with all our farming partners and by becoming members of Salmon Scotland we can proactively work with them (and all the other supply chain members) to build a responsible and sustainable industry that is resilient to the challenges ahead.

“In my experience, you only get out of these things as much as you put into them. Aquascot is a values-driven business, with the power of partnership being central to our ethos, and we will bring our ambition for ethical and sustainable growth for our sector to the membership.

“In return, we expect to gain from our membership: the building of a common voice for our sector’s direction of travel; recognition that the Scottish salmon industry has tangible benefits across all corners of our country; clearer insight into challenges and opportunities presented to the sector; and ultimately support from across the supply chain, as we are all trying to navigate towards the same endpoint - long-term sustainable growth of the Scottish salmon industry.

“From our perspective, Salmon Scotland plays a vital role in acting as a focal point for our sector. Externally facing, Salmon Scotland ensures there is a clear and consistent representation acting on behalf of all supply chain members. While facing inwards to the membership, Salmon Scotland plays a vital role in drawing everyone together, ensuring we work collaboratively, seeking to resolve the challenges we face.”

The latest developments at Aquascot

“At Aquascot, we are enthused by the opportunity that lies before us. Consumers are clearly gravitating towards nutritious food with trusted provenance and Scottish salmon fits well in this context. But we can’t rest on our laurels, we believe in a shared ambition for improvement across the Scottish salmon industry.

“As such, we are working in partnership with Waitrose, our farming partners and other stakeholders on a number of exciting initiatives which include: developing new approaches to assuring good welfare for farmed fish; increasing the sustainability of fish feeds through the validation of novel raw materials; and supporting research which seeks to understand the broader social impacts of salmon farming supply chains within Scotland’s rural communities.

“Closer to home, Aquascot has taken a significant step forward in its own sustainability program. At the start of 2022 we completed the first comprehensive annual carbon footprint assessment of our business operations. Having our baseline independently certified was a key milestone enabling us to build a glidepath of de-carbonisation which will ensure we meet our aim to become a carbon neutral business by the year 2030.”

Working together for a common goal

“If there was one area of the farm-raised salmon sector that I could highlight – it is the genuine and honest passion that is inherent in everyone that works in the sector. In our sourcing capacity, we are privileged to visit the majority of the Scottish salmon farms, travelling from Argyll to Shetland, and everywhere in between. While the weather may be inclement - we always receive a warm welcome.”