Scotland’s oldest smokehouse is battling to keep things traditional against a wave of mass production.
Ugie Smokehouse, located in Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, in north-east Scotland, has been in operation for more than 400 years.
It gets all its salmon from Scottish Sea Farms, who operate farms in Shetland, Orkney and the west coast of Scotland.
According to Kontali Analyse, Scotland harvested 156,000 tonnes of salmon in 2018.
There has been a huge increase in the production of the fish in fish farms over the past few decades. That means there is more demand for smoked salmon.
But the Ugie Smokehouse says it is not phased and is determined to keep things the way they are.
The production manager, Joseph Yule, told SalmonBusiness: “The oldest salmon Fish House in Scotland deserves to be kept in the traditional way.”
“We can get a premier price for our product, which, if we were just in with everyone else producing tons each week, then we would probably need to come down in price.”
Mr Yule added that it was about a ‘balance’ between what we can produce and what price we can achieve in the market.
The smokehouse was built in 1585 at the mouth of the River Ugie in Peterhead.
The curing and preservation of fish and wild Game was the reason the building was constructed, and it is the only surviving building in Peterhead from that period.
Despite its long life-span, Yule says nothing will change. “The production of salmon won’t change,” he told SalmonBusiness.
“The building that we’re smoking in was built 434 years ago and it’s still here today, and still doing the same job that was it built for. It’s still keeping to that traditional method of smoking and attention to detail.”
“It’s just wonderful that we can claim over 400 years of tradition and we are proud of our heritage.”
He added: “Although our building has this very ancient claim to fame, inside has been sensitively restored and we have achieved the BRC accreditation, ensuring sustainability and quality.”