40th year for Scottish Sea Farms manager

Geoff Kidd Jim Gallagher, managing director of Scottish Sea Farms (left), pictured with Geoff Kidd and his wife Jane

Scottish Sea Farms’ longest serving employee Geoff Kidd has celebrated 40 years of service including more than three decades as farm manager of Loch Spelve on Mull.

During his career, the newly retired Mr Kidd pioneered the first full crop of M&S Lochmuir salmon; led his team at Loch Spelve to win ‘Best Finfish Farm’ at the prestigious Crown Estate Awards 2010, while also being shortlisted for ‘Aquaculture Ambassador’ in 2011; and came a close second in the ‘Farmer of the Year’ category of the BBC Food & Farming Awards 2010.

He stated: “Changes in operational scale have led to tremendous advances in production. The biggest advances, without doubt, have been in fish welfare and staff health and safety.

“The arrival of vaccines simultaneously improved fish health and reduced use of medicinal treatments, while the arrival of innovative new technologies such as work boats, well-boats and net cleaning systems has made the farmer’s role much more about brain than brawn.”

Closer scrutiny

Increased regulation by Marine Scotland, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and the industry itself has also had a significant impact on operations. Mr Kidd said: “Nowadays, everything is so carefully calculated and closely regulated: from where you can locate farms to how many fish you can safely put in pens in order to maximise their health and welfare and minimise any impact on the environment.”

Joining the company as a zoology graduate in 1978, when commercial salmon farming was still very much in its infancy, Mr Kidd progressed from farm assistant at Loch Striven, then Loch Creran, to farm manager of Loch Spelve.

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