Scottish Rural Affairs Secretary, Mairi Gougeon, cut the ribbon on Hendrix Genetics’s upgraded Inverkerry Hatchery at Gairloch, in WesterRoss. The hatchery will supply smolts to Skye-based organic Scottish salmon farmer Organic Sea Harvest (OSH) and directly supports local jobs, ensuring the hatchery has a long-term future. The facility will organically produce around 1.2 million organic salmon smolts for Organic Sea Harvest.
The Inverkerry salmon hatchery and rearing unit has undergone a major refurbishment to meet stringent organic production standards. The upgraded hatchery will be able to offer a steady supply of smolts for the OSH sea sites. “Five local people are currently employed at the hatchery, and we are very much looking forward to continuing our long-term partnership with the hatchery team and Hendrix Genetics,” said from Organic Sea Harvest.
Salmon Scotland chief executive Tavish Scott, present in the ceremony assured: “The successful partnership between Organic Sea Harvest and Hendrix Genetics is helping to deliver on our sustainability pledge to be world-leading in the provision of nutritious food produced in the most responsible way.”
On the other hand, Gougeon said “this significant investment in the new facilities at Inverkerry is another example of how Scotland’s aquaculture industry is championing and driving innovation.”
The highest quality organic smolts
“We’re proud to be part of this origin story, producing the highest quality organic smolts for Organic Sea Harvest, which go on to thrive at sea,” assured Jarl van den Berg, general manager of Hendrix Genetics.
Meanwhile, Ove Thu, chief executive of Organic Sea Harvest, said: “Thanks to our friends at Hendrix, we have established the safe and steady supply of high quality smolts we need for today’s production at Organic Sea Harvest.”
Farmed in the wild
Established in 2017, Organic Sea Harvest is the first independently owned and operated salmon farm, in Scotland. The company was created with a vision to fill a gap in the organic salmon market. Founded in Staffin, on the Isle of Skye, its production utilizes waters that offer the perfect conditions to raise what its owners call ‘Organic Salmon, Farmed in the Wild.’
The company currently have two sea sites, both officially certified by the United Kingdom (UK) Soil Association: Culnacnoc and Invertote.
From Organic Sea Harvest says the community is at the heart of the company. “We are proud of our committed sites teams, who care for our fish no matter the day, hour or weather. It is thanks to our teams that we can bring you the finest organic salmon from our home to yours”.
Also, they explain that, made up of site managers and farm technicians, some members of their team are brand new to the industry and they’re currently supporting them to achieve aquaculture-related qualifications. “Others have been with the industry for a number of years, and bring proven experience to our sites.”
Organic Sea Harvest believes their customers’ thoughts and requirements are most important. “From egg through to delivery, our proud team are here to help each step of the way. Our organic salmon is ‘Farmed in the Wild’ waters off the Isle of Skye, making for a truly special and authentic product of Scotland; from our home to yours,” they say.
Uniques in Scotland
Organic Sea Harvest is the only salmon farmer in Scotland to focus solely on producing the finest organic salmon, with both sea sites officially certified as organic by the UK Soil Association. The company operate to some of the strictest farming standards and regulations in the world, laid out by the certification bodies, a number of which allows them to market their product as organic.
“We aim to go above and beyond these statutory requirements through technical discussions on how the standards can be improved between generations (i.e each salmon ‘cycle’) – providing information on best practice with an overall aim of maximizing the quality of life for our fish at all times,” they explain.
Alongside UK standards, Organic Sea Harvest have also been awarded Canadian Organic Regulations (COR) and Bio Suisse (Switzerland) certifications.
All parts of the organic value chain are audited by third party, independent auditors. This covers the brood-stock, hatchery, sea sites, processing factory, fish feed factory, and even the sales department. Additional checks are made by statutory regulatory bodies of UK salmonid aquaculture (e.g. SEPA, Marine Scotland, Fish Health Inspectorate) prior to, during, and after production of our livestock.
According to the UK Soil Association Aquaculture standard, organic production must be based on specific principles like observance of a high level of animal welfare; production of organic livestock from animals that have been raised on organic holdings since birth or hatching and throughout their life; observance of continuing health of the aquatic environment and quality of the surrounding ecosystem; and feed from sustainable exploitation.