The story of Rosie Curtis
“My name is Rosie Curtis, and we’re at MacLean’s Nose, in Ardnamurchan, and behind me is my salmon farm. I live on a croft with my husband and my three children.”
Community involvement is an important component of ASC certification. ASC is not just about the highest environmental standards – farms also have to be socially responsible and that includes being good neighbours. Local communities are even invited to have their say on potential ASC certification of nearby farms.
It’s hard to think of anyone who sums up this community-minded spirit than Rosie Curtis, who is the Farm Manager at Mowi’s ASC certified Maclean’s Nose salmon farm in Ardnamurchan, Scotland.
Managing a salmon farm is a busy job, but it’s far from the only responsibility that Rosie has taken on: she is the Watch Commander for the local fire service and a deputy officer for the coast guard – a particularly important service on a remote peninsula like Ardnamurchan. As if that wasn’t enough, Rosie and her family also manage their croft – a small farm – home to their sheep herd. Thankfully they at least have some help from their trusty sheep dog for that last one!
Rosie isn’t the only community-minded member of the Maclean’s Nose farm team. Two of her colleagues are fellow firefighters, and two are members of the coast guard team. For small, rural areas like Ardnamurchan these vital services simply would not be possible without dedicated volunteers like Rosie and her colleagues. In turn, these volunteers wouldn’t be able to do what they do without the full support of their employer’s. This is no small commitment: there is no predicting when an incident might occur requiring the coast guard or fire service, and when that happens Rosie and her colleagues will have to leave immediately. Rosie is grateful to Mowi for allowing her and others to give back to their community in this way, and it’s clear that her community spirit has rubbed off on the rest of her team.
But Rosie is just as passionate about her day job, salmon farming. She takes a lot of time to ensure her fish are healthy and their welfare is taken care of, while her trusted team keeps a close watch on the fish and monitor things like how much they are fed to ensure excess food doesn’t accumulate where it could have negative environmental impacts.
Rosie grew up in Kilchoan, west Ardnamurchan, before leaving the area. She returned in 1997 when her dad became ill, which is when she decided to stay in the area and take over the management of the family croft. But many do not return, and the area’s already small population of 247 is also ageing. Rosie is hopeful that fish farming is a way to improve the outlook for small rural communities. She said: “Having fish farming in remote rural areas, hopefully in the future that will encourage people back in to our communities and keep communities alive.”
At ASC we couldn’t agree more about the potential for fish farming, which goes beyond the already important need to feed a growing global population and include many social and economic benefits. But of course, these benefits will count for little if the farming is not done responsibly and causes negative environmental or social impacts. Rosie is clear on what direction she wants to see the industry head: “Hopefully in a couple of years’ time the whole salmon industry will be accredited with ASC.”
For Rosie, the strict requirements of ASC made it all the more worthwhile to work towards: “It’s a tough certificate to get, so I will display my certificate with pride.” For someone who already has so much to be proud about, that’s saying something!