Number 41 on our list this year is Pan Fish Scotland, part of the Norwegian Pan Fish Group, which also farms salmon in Canada and the Faeroes and has processing plants in Norway, Scotland and France.

Following its recent merger with Fjord and the proposed merger with ­Marine ­Harvest, the company is now poised to become the biggest farmer of salmon in the world. It supplies all the major UK processors and salmon smokers, which in turn supply all the major retailers.

The company says that it has achieved this through a constant focus on cost-efficient production, and a 'can do' attitude, which means decisions can be taken in real time, and customer requirements met closely.

Like other salmon producers, PFS plays a significant role in exports of salmon from Scotland - taking a leading position in the Japanese and US markets.

Within Scotland, the company employs more than 160 people, farms fish at locations stretching from the Kyles of Bute to Loch Eriboll on the north coast, and processes salmon at Cairndow in Argyll.

The company, one of the first signatories to the industry's Code of Good Practice and a founder member of area management agreements in Loch Fyne and the Kyles of Bute, says it takes enormous pride in its green credentials. Sustainable production, stewardship of the environment, care of its fish and relationships with other stake­holders in the marine and freshwater environments are all high priorities.

The proposed merger with Marine Hervest has been referred to the Competition Commission and an inquiry team is taking evidence. The merger would give Pan Fish a share of up to 65% in the Scottish aquaculture sector, and there are concerns about the impact on prices. n