Grieg’s Shetland salmon farm expelled from SSPO

Hjaltland Sea Farms, operated by Grieg Seafood Hjaltland UK Ltd., was expelled by the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO) late last week for importing salmon smolts without waiting for the recommended three-month quarantine period.

“The potential consequences of bringing in smolts without quarantine are exceptionally serous for the whole Scottish industry,” said Scott Lansburgh (pictured), SSPO CEO. “The importation of smolts from a country with lower health status without undertaking a quarantine period is strictly against the Code of the Good Practice for fish farming.”

Grieg recently transported more than one million live smolts from Norway to Shetland without the quarantine period mandated by the Code of Good Practice for Scottish Finfish Aquaculture. The company reportedly needed to import the smolts because of delays in completing its new five-million-capacity salmon hatchery in Shetland.

Grieg executives did not respond to SeafoodSource’s requests for comments.

While Grieg did not violate international import regulations, it violated SSPO’s code. “These are best practice standards that every organisation must sign up to if it is to become an SSPO member,” Angela Kelly, a spokesperson for SSPO, told SeafoodSource.

SSPO’s Code of Good Practices states: “Live salmonids imported from approved zones or compartments of countries of lower health status, as defined by the World Organisation for Animal Health, including Norway and third countries, should be held in quarantine in secure land-based facilities with appropriate effluent disinfection, for a period of no less than three months, during which time their health should be monitored.”

Before expelling Hjaltland Sea Farms, other members of SSPO went to “extraordinary lengths” to help the aquaculture company source smolts from Scotland, according to Landsburgh. “These offers were rejected. I am impressed by the enormous spirit of collaboration and support shown between companies to find a solution to this problem,” he said. “I am, therefore, all the more disappointed that every overture was rejected and it was agreed that we should take this step [expelling Hjaltland].”

As far as whether Hjaltland Sea Farms will be allowed back into the SSPO, Kelly said, “It is too early in the exclusion to speculate.”


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