Post-acquisition, Wester Ross retains its identity while safeguarding its future

"Our brand and product convey the values and care that have gone into producing our fish.”
Box of Wester Ross salmon
Box of Wester Ross salmon | Photo courtesy of Wester Ross
6 Min

Tucked away in the northwest Scottish lochs, Wester Ross Fisheries is a company and brand that has been built on the foundation of doing things carefully and as naturally as possible, with its hand-fed fish reared slowly without medicine and with minimum handling.

Under the three-decade stewardship of recently retired Gilpin Bradley and a committed management team, the business has thrived; Wester Ross’s salmon is not only prized among chefs and consumers in the U.K., it’s also a premium-priced product that’s widely exported, notably to North American and Asian markets.

Independence and individuality are key to the company’s strategy, and though a 2006 management buyout put it in the hands of Bradley, David Robinson, Hugh Richards, and Colin Milne, followed by industry giant Mowi’s acquisition of the company in 2022, that mantra has remained true since the company’s founding in 1977, according to Wester Ross Marketing and Communications Manager Gillian Osborne.

Through it all, it remains the last independently managed Scottish salmon farm – something that will continue through the course of its future growth, Osborne said.

Osborne said that Mowi ownership helps mitigate some of the inherent risks that come with being an aquaculture business in the 21st century. Alongside the challenges posed by unpredictable feed supplies, disease and biological threats, regulatory changes, and more, there are emerging environmental, social, and governance issues to contend with, not least climate change. Those threats considered, the Mowi acquisition, nearly two years on, provides both security and a platform from which to explore further opportunities, according to Osborne.

“Having that backing and access to our new parent company’s resources is a very positive, reassuring position to be in,” Osborne told SeafoodSource.

Since the sale, the new owners have actively sought every opportunity to keep things as they were before, Osborne noted.

“Being independently managed means we’re able to maintain the Wester Ross standard," Osborne said. "Obviously, there are things we need to integrate and cooperate with, but those are not to the detriment of our brand or our way of doing things."

If anything, she said, the brand has probably been strengthened by the deal and, with it, the ... 

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