Action needs to be taken to reverse the decline of farmed salmon production in Orkney.

The call to arms comes from the Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation (SSPO), which is alarmed that farmed salmon output has fallen from a high of 10,740 tonnes in 2003 to 6,600 in 2004 - a decline of nearly 40%.

Salmon prices collapsed in 2004 because of overproduction and the industry faces a struggle to recover.

"The salmon farming sector in Orkney is underachieving and requires a unique strategy to fulfil its potential," said Sid Patten, chief executive of the SSPO.

New salmon consumption figures reveal the unprecedented increase in UK demand. Fresh salmon meals have increased from 314 million in 2004 to 357 million in 2006 - an increase of 13.8%; and smoked salmon portions have increased from 42.8 million in 2004 to 59.4 million in 2006 - an increase of 38.7%.

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