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Salmon fish farm in the pink as sales leap

By Clare Weir

Published 01/07/2011

A Co Antrim fish farm has bounced back from disaster to double sales of fresh salmon in international markets including the US, Europe, Singapore and Dubai.

Glenarm Organic Salmon ships fresh salmon daily and all year round by air to chefs in high-end restaurants and hotels with around 75% of its production now sent to wholesalers in the US, Europe, the Emirates and Asia, principally Singapore.

The company, which has been in business since 1989 and is the only organic salmon producer in the north east of Ireland, farms around 500 tonnes of fish annually.

In November 2007, over 100,000 salmon in the firm's seawater farms in Glenarm Bay and Red Bay, 11 miles around the coast, were totally wiped out by an unprecedented jellyfish invasion.

However, thanks to new investors, the company came back fighting in 2009 and began to rebuild its brand.

John Russell, the managing director of Glenarm Organic Salmon, said that last year was a bumper year and 2011 is shaping up to be even better.

"We are winning business increasingly because we have established a strong reputation as a producer of premium Irish salmon," he said.

"Customers also appreciate that they can count on the provenance of our fresh salmon because we are a small artisan business operating off the County Antrim coast in the Irish Sea.

"They also understand now that our salmon is farmed to the rigorous standards of the Organic Food Federation and the RSPCA's exacting Freedom Food rules," explained Mr Russell.

"An important marketing theme for us is that our salmon is farmed using only responsible and sustainable techniques.

"Our priority is the health and welfare of the fish, as well as the long-term protection of the environment.

"Our salmon, most importantly, has a rich and distinctive flavour that comes from being raised on seawater farms located in the Irish Sea, where the currents and tidal flows ensure optimal exercise and firm muscle formation.

"Our organic salmon farms benefit immensely from an extremely clean and healthy environment," he said.

Glenarm Organic Salmon harvests, processes and dispatches all its fresh salmon within 24 hours and is able to ship products across the world in just three to four days.

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