Swimming Against The Tide:
Updated: Feb 21, 2019
China, once a land of artisans and subsistence farming quickly looked to the West for innovation and technology. And of course, it didn't take them long to completely overtake us as a world-leader in production.
China eats over 70,000tonnes of Salmon per year - most of it imported.
So, to complement and supersede their experimental Yellow Sea farms and RAS on land, China built "Deep Blue 1". A fully-submersible mega-farm capable of 300,000 fish. They say that it has survived trials through typhoons and high-energy conditions.
SalmonBusinessNews reported today (HERE) that China is to build a "Deep Blue 2" which will dwarf Deep Blue 1 and carry up to 1 Million fish.
But it was South Korea who lead the Asian countries into Salmon production in 2016. And today (HERE), news has also come in that North AND South Korea are to join forces in Salmon production.
Now, we don't know exactly what Scotland's exports are to these countries specifically but it will be a significant slice of the "£650 Million", touted by Fergus Ewing.
It was only a matter of time before Asian countries would catch onto this idea of intensive battery factory farming of Salmon.
The rhetoric from Riaghaltas na H-Alba and the SSPO - clinging onto this notion that Norwegian owned Salmon feedlots in Scotland will somehow feed a expanding global population from their operations on the West Coast is wearing a bit thin.
Indeed, we are treated to a questionaire from Intrafish today:
"Which country produces the best salmon?"
Apart from being a completely pointless question, like picking your favourite Salmon disease, it could be looking to gauge public (or at least retailers) opinion on which country they would rather buy their Salmon from.
Is there a "Salmon war" on the way? Is Scotland going to be competing on an increasingly more hostile global stage? As if the industry doesn't have enough "challenges" already; lice, disease, toxins, algae, jellyfish, faeces, escapes, mortalities, weather, seals, cetaceans, public opinion, activists, production costs, forthcoming regulatory changes (?), etc.
One thing for sure is that unless a drastic shift in regulatory practices comes into play very soon, farmed Salmon in Scottish waters may be heading the same way their wild relatives are going.
The answer isn't to expand but to downsize. Boot the Norwegian and Ukranian companies out. Get the farms onto land in much smaller output. Make it work and the industry may be able to prove the "premium product" they brag about.
And at the same time, they can be exempted from the argument they furiously deny: that they are complicit in the destruction of the Scottish wild Salmon population.