Minister for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing MSP, has welcomed new figures showing that Scottish Sea Farms, which produces responsibly farmed salmon, achieved record spend with local suppliers in 2017.
The figures reveal that Scottish Sea Farms, which operates 46 farm sites, two processing plants and employs 449 people, spent over £100m – 85% of total supplier spend – procuring goods and services from local businesses in 2017, many of them small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
This is up £13.9m on 2016 and is driven by a long-standing company policy to ‘buy Scottish’ wherever possible.’ managing director, Jim Gallagher, said: “The communities in which we farm are integral to our success, from their natural resources to their local workforces and businesses. It seems only fitting therefore that these same communities should derive maximum value in return; something we are proud to have grown again in 2017 – and will strive to continue growing in 2018 and beyond.”
The news comes on the back of the recent Scottish Salmon Farming Economic Report, commissioned by the Scottish Salmon Producer’s Organisation, which highlighted that the sector contributes £558m to the national economy in GVA and spends a total of £390m on local suppliers and services.
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “These figures show the scale of the support that Scottish aquaculture provides for rural businesses, protecting and creating jobs, and supporting communities. The support they offer for research and innovation is also invaluable in ensuring the long-term future of the industry.
“I fully support Scottish Sea Farms’ ethos of supporting local suppliers and this is something that I encourage right across our food and drink sector.”
One such local supplier is Gael Force, headquartered in Inverness, which saw an increase in turnover of close to 45% in 2017 and added 50 new jobs. Stewart Graham, managing director said: “Almost all of this growth can be attributed to orders from the aquaculture industry. It’s the ongoing support of companies such as Scottish Sea Farms that has propelled us on to develop new innovative technologies and services – something we will continue to do in 2018 with a planned £1m investment in increased capacity and the development of new products.”
It’s not just companies located in the aquaculture heartland of the Highlands and Islands that are feeling the benefit of Scottish Sea Farms’ ‘buy Scottish’ procurement policy. So too are companies the length and breadth of Scotland: from Shetland and Orkney in the north, to Ayrshire in the south west; and from Aberdeen in the east to Mull on the west coast.