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We often hear there’s no such thing as a “job for life”, but at Marine Harvest
we’re proving this theory incorrect. Over 70 different job options are
available in the company, and long-term careers are being celebrated monthly.
Salmon farming in the Highlands:
a professional career for life
Ben Hadfield, Managing Director
nvestment in Scotland on a pro-rata tonnage basis is
far above investments being made in any other salmon
farming group within Marine Harvest and the
reason for this is very simple: the Board of Directors and
the General Management Team of the company see great
potential in our salmon farming business. This is great
news for us, as employees and career professionals in
aquaculture, because it creates opportunity and lifelong
careers in what is an exceedingly interesting and important
business that feeds the earth’s growing population in an
efficient and sustainable way.
Our longest serving employee ever retired recently after
41 years dedicated to Scottish salmon farming. Beginning
his career back in the pioneering days of salmon farming
in 1977 as a fish farm assistant at Lochailort, Steve Bracken
became one of the industry’s greatest ambassadors.
Over the decades, Steve has watched careers in Marine
Harvest develop into highly specialised roles, attracting
highly qualified professionals in areas such as fish
husbandry and processing to the Highlands and Islands.
Our operations director for processing and feed in
Scotland, Ewan MacColl, celebrated 30 years with us
recently after starting his career at our Blar Mhor
processing plant in Fort William.
He joins the illustrious group of 29 colleagues who’ve all
been with us for more than 30 years.
Over the summer Joe MacLeod, senior farm technician at
Laga Bay, marked 25 years with us and we also celebrated
Marlena Lewczuk’s 15 years working as a canteen assistant
at our Blar Mhor processing plant.
These milestones all go to show how significant Marine
Harvest is in creating varied careers in a rural economy,
and for those that want it, a job for life.
At the time of writing, we are still awaiting the
parliamentary report by the Rural Economy and
Connectivity (REC) Committee on Scottish salmon
farming. In our verbal submissions to the committee,
Marine Harvest has been very open about its farming
challenges and our rapid response to addressing them. It
can be disappointing that our massive successes - social,
environmental and economic - are typically buried behind
the gloomy headlines. You don’t hear enough of our full
story in the UK and we are guilty of not communicating it
well enough - especially to people south of Edinburgh. Our
business is an economic powerhouse in Scotland and the
economic foundation of thousands of households.
Whatever the committee concludes, there is no doubt the
aquaculture industry, possibly more than any other,
provides interesting, well paid and varied employment for
thousands of people across rural Scotland.
Would I want my children to enter this business, remain in
the Highlands and build long-lasting careers in salmon
in the news
BBC Scotland’s environment
correspondent, Kevin Keane, interviewed
our hatchery manager Paul Featherstone,
alongside Ralph Bickerdyke from Scottish
Sea Farms about our innovative wrasse
The show highlighted a hatchery milestone:
weaning young wrasse from live
to dry feed and therefore completing the
lifecycle in captivity.
The company’s wage bill now exceeds £47 million and
whilst this is a large and impressive figure, it’s the
average level of pay that impresses me more. The salmon
farming sector pays significantly above other sectors in
Scotland because it is a successful and highly technical
business. It can be a very tough business, but this
is farming and farming is tough, especially underwater!
Salmon farm at the Isle of Muck
hirty-seven members of the fifty-three-strong team
are now in place with another six due before the
end of this year. Kyleakin will boast one of the most
diverse workforces at Marine Harvest Scotland, with seven
different nationalities represented hailing from India to
Italy, working alongside staff largely recruited from the
Kevin O’Leary, site manager said: “Ultimately, around 60%
of the team will have joined us from Skye, Kyleakin and
across the Highlands. The feed plant offers excellent career
opportunities for our employees and has even made it
possible for some to return to the area to raise their
A £225,000 comprehensive training scheme is underway
to ensure the team is ready to craft the perfect feed pellet,
which will be based on the best available and
sustainably-sourced raw materials that provide optimum
nutrition for fish. The feed will be shipped direct from
Kyleakin by boat to aquaculture farms in Scotland, Ireland,
Norway and the Faroe Islands.
It’s a hive of activity at Kyleakin on Skye as the world’s newest salmon feed plant nears the
end of construction.
Construction almost complete at Kyleakin feed plant
he innovation developed by
seawater manager David
MacGillivray here in Scotland
is to be trialled at our farms in Norway.
David (better known as Bodger!) believes that the
methods we use to keep the nets on our salmon pens
clean can play a real role in maintaining good gill
In 2017, he set about adopting the Enviro net
concept, a natural approach to keeping pen nets
clean. The system works with two nets on each pen
– one in the water, the other hanging up out of the
water where detritus such as weeds, shellfish or
hydroids accumulated from its time in the sea dies
off in the fresh air. This avoids using antifouling
chemicals to keep nets clean which can be harmful
to the environment. Even more importantly it
eliminates the need to clean the nets in situ which
Kyleakin Feed Plant, Skye
“The state of the art technology has also proved a real draw
for staff with specialist skills and knowledge in engineering,
finance, feed and safety management from across the globe.
There is a real sense of pride and anticipation now on Skye
as we gear up to opening in 2019.”
Fish health update
Enviro net for round pens
dislodges and breaks up the hydroids and can
result in them attacking the gills of the salmon
in the pen.
Enviro nets worked very successfully on steel
pens but no-one had ever worked out how to
use them on modern circular plastic pens.
David designed a net suitable for circular
pens which featured four main lifting points
instead of the traditional one point so the load
could be reduced and the net wouldn’t need to
be lifted so high. He also devised a hydraulic
system which allowed all four lifting points to
be lifted at the same time without putting too
much stress on the pen and lifting posts which
could be retro-fitted to plastic pens.
After successful trials at Skipport, Kingairloch
and Portnalong, the nets will be introduced at
Greshornish and Poll Na Gille in 2019.
Construction almost complete at Kyleakin feed plant
ow we’re in autumn, health and safety manager
Billy Glen reminds us of the need to take extra
care when travelling in twilight and the hours
He explains: “Obviously, our farms and sites are in some
of the most remote and rural areas in Scotland.
October to November is the rutting season for deer so
you might find the odd wayward stag on the road. Be
vigilant and stay safe by following some simple advice.”
Billy’s top tips:
Maximise your vision by using your headlights at
dusk and dawn – don’t rely on daytime running
Watch for the reflections of your lights in their eyes
– two small points of light ahead could be a deer
looking at you.
Deer are social animals – if one crosses the road
ahead of you, slow right down because the rest of
the herd may be close behind and will follow without
looking for traffic.
If deer stop in the road in front of you, a single
blast of the horn will often scare them away, but
slow down first. Don’t assume the deer will move
and make sure you can stop safely if it doesn’t.
ur Kritsen factory in Brittany, France
burned to the ground mid-July this year.
To continue supplying our valuable
customers on the continent, our Rosyth plant
But it wasn’t possible to simply send over any
of the smoked salmon range already produced
at Rosyth. We all know that the French have a
certain “je ne sais quoi” and this also extends to
their very particular tastes in smoked salmon as
Robin Brown, head of technical and development
in our consumer products team explains:
The Rosyth team set to work. They were audited
by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)
and went through an accreditation process from
the Soil Association for organic status. They
welcomed some of the team from Kritsen to
Rosyth and worked closely with them on product
All this effort resulted in the creation of 18
different products for seven retailers, ranging in
weight, number of slices and sourced from our
sites in Norway, Scotland and Ireland.
Meanwhile we are set to receive new packaging
and slicing technology to manage the increased
volume and a new kiln is also in the pipeline.
Well done or indeed bravo to the team at Rosyth!
Ooh la la!
For the last few months the team at Rosyth has really
demonstrated how resilient and adaptable we are at
“We soon learned that the French palate is quite
different to ours when it comes to smoked
salmon. They prefer a much milder taste,
probably because they are used to eating raw
salmon carpaccio and similar dishes so a lighter
cure and less smoke is preferred.”
Graduate training scheme
Our Christmas product selection
Safe winter driving
In next month’s issue
Photo of the month
The team at Rosyth came along with their
family and friends to clean up the beach at
Burntisland. Their hard work was rewarded
with a lovely picnic arranged by one of the
Isle of Muck with the Isle of Rum
in the background.
Photo sent by Ian Roberts.
More than 45 staff from all areas of our
business climbed Ben Nevis to raise funds for
Parkinson’s UK, raising more than £4863.57.
Marine Harvest pledged £50 for each member
of staff that took part.
ur newest hatchery at Inchmore in
Glenmoriston opened in June this year with
18 staff. It features one of the most technically
advanced water recirculation systems in the world. Along
with its sister hatchery in Lochailort, the new facility
allows Marine Harvest to stock all farms with juvenile fish
grown from eggs, which will then grow on to maturity at
our 49 seawater farms and five freshwater loch sites.
Recirculation systems are designed to maximise control
of growing conditions for fish: minimising water
consumption, ensuring biosecurity and allowing waste
streams to be fully managed and treated. Our freshwater
manager, John Richmond explains:
Soon after start up, we unfortunately experienced a rare
fault within the oxygen supply system to the farm,
resulting in the loss of some fish. We have since repaired
and adapted our oxygen supply processes and equipment
to ensure the farm operates smoothly and helps us
continue to meet an increasing global demand for
Scottish salmon. Fortunately, we have been able to
compensate for this fish loss and all seawater farms will
be fully stocked.
Fort William Scotland PH33 6RX
01397 701550 MHS.firstname.lastname@example.org
Focus on Claire Lumley-Holmes
What do you do in your spare time?
I’m passionate about encouraging women in sport
and set up Fort William Netball Club. The competitive
side of me used to focus on the game, but I’ve made
friendships across the Highlands and it’s a great way
to keep active.
I am having a baby in October so spare time might
become a thing of the past! I hope to remain active
and am planning a trip to Italy next year.
I recently watched Men in Black 3 and noticed the
character “Griffin”. Griffin can see all possible future
timelines and outcomes. These are ideal attributes for
a member of the Environmental Team and we’d be
offering him a job if he were real!
I always enjoy hot smoked salmon on oatcakes with
various toppings or a nice cheese.
I have worked in the Environmental Team for nearly
10 years. We are responsible for assessing and
obtaining licenses for new salmon farms and
modifications to existing sites. Recently, I led the
development of new sites off the Isles of Muck and
What did you do before fish farming?
I have a degree in Geography, specialising in the
environment and sustainability. Before this job I was
based in the Midlands working in planning regulation
for the local district and county councils.
I’m proud to be in a position which actively
focuses development in the best feasible locations for
the environment. It is rewarding to see all the jobs
created by these projects and I enjoy working closely
with local communities.
Blooming marvellous! We were pleased to see
these beautiful hanging baskets and planters
brimming with flowers donated to Kyleakin
and Kylerhea Community Council.
“By producing the smolts in an environment where we
can optimise water quality and provide stable conditions
for growth, our aim is to produce smolts that perform
well at sea. A healthy smolt will be ready to withstand the
challenges of growing to harvest size in the sea with a
lesser risk of any health issues.”
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