A New Beginning

Web EditorNews

So we have finally decided to create a blog on our website. It has been a huge decision because it involves so much time from so many people within our company. Our blog will be our views, how our farms are doing and our principles explained. It will be moderated, which means that your comments are welcome, but also to ensure that it keeps to relevant topics.

In the end it became a simple decision because of all the other views being expressed about our company and us by other people. These views are often misleading or inaccurate, mostly through lack of knowledge or misconception but sometimes are deliberately malicious.

At the moment our development in Canada is giving rise to a large amount of coverage and, having just visited, it seems appropriate to start with how it is going as a farm and why we took the momentous decision to start farming there.

Loch Duart could have stayed out of public view but our vision is:

‘To challenge the conventions of aquaculture to bring the best wholesome, tasty seafood to the plate founded on innovation, stewardship and respect for people, fish and the environment’

With that vision we could hardly leave difficult areas out of our strategy. It is worrying when we know that opposition will target our customers, {they are even targeting our employees now!} and all the difficulty that this will bring. But if fish farming is to move forward then we have to take risks.

Nova Scotia offered us an unique opportunity to try to farm in a new way. The possibility to farm with sites very far apart and fallows between stockings being very long should allow us to demonstrate that salmon farming can be done giving maximal health and the best conditions for growing the best salmon.

There are so many positives surrounding this area and so much we hope we can do. The site we have at Owl’s Head has been farmed for over 4 years with fish on site and no salmon lice. Other areas of the world that farm salmon have to treat for lice and so this is a very significant issue. Owl’s Head offers us a wonderful start and the other sites that we are applying for also are far enough apart that, even if lice should appear, they cannot transfer between sites or generations.

You can imagine the trepidation with which we approach a site that we have invested so much of our money and principles into. Any person or company trying new things risks criticism and even worse, failure. So when I visited the farms this month, I was extremely nervous. The figures look good and there was no record of any salmon lice at all but still there was that nervous tingling.

On 17th December Shane Borthwick who runs Snow Island Salmon, as it is called, took me to the pens at Owl’s Head. It was a wonderful moment to see clean, clear water and fish glowing with health. And yes, for those of you who want to know, no salmon lice at all. The fish have grown ahead of expectations and the survival percentages are higher than we expected.

After this we travelled to the hatchery which is on Prince Edward’s Island, hoping to cross by ferry from Pictou but the inclement weather meant that we had to drive around. For those who don’t know the area, this involves driving across a 5 mile, yes I did say 5 mile, bridge across the sea. How anyone dared such a feat let alone accomplished it, defeats me. It is an extraordinary feat of engineering and something of which Canada should be truly proud.

We arrived at the hatchery in the early morning and it is so good to see things doing well there as well. Richie and his team are doing a particularly wonderful job and the next generation looks to be better than the last.

All in all it was a wonderful trip and the future looks bright, we hope to create many more well-paid jobs in Nova Scotia and develop a company that produces fish that Canada can be truly proud of.

Nick Joy