Dawnfresh plans four new farms, 36 jobs


SCOTTISH trout farmer Dawnfresh is to expand its operations, with plans for four new offshore farm sites, creating an extra 36 jobs in the west of Scotland.
The company, which is the UK’s largest producer of farmed trout and already employs more than 500 people, is to invest £16 million in growing its farming business.
It has submitted scoping reports for four fish farm sites across Argyll and Bute and North Ayrshire as the first steps in the planning process.
If the company proceeds with a planning application and it is consented, the proposed offshore sites at Ardentinny, Isle of Bute, Great Cumbrae and Little Cumbrae would produce around 14,000 tonnes of trout per 22.5 month cycle.
The company said the sites would bring economic benefits to both areas, as well the wider Scottish economy. Apart from the jobs, the development would include the building of seven new workboats, and four new feed barges.
The estimated increased trout production for Scotland of around 7,000 tonnes per year equates to a value of £45.5 million of yearly production based on current market value – almost doubling the current production level in Scotland.
Additional downstream jobs will be created and safeguarded through the supply, servicing and maintenance of the sites, said Dawnfresh, and will create jobs for suppliers elsewhere in Scotland through boat and feed barge construction, and equipment provision, with further positions created in processing.
The 2017 Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) report on Scottish aquaculture quantifies the knock-on benefit of the sector to Scotland as able to support approximately 4.8FTE (full time equivalent) positions per one FTE direct position, which could equate to up to 170 additional FTE positions in Scotland in addition to the 36 direct new jobs.
Alison Hutchins (pictured), farming director of Dawnfresh, said: ‘Our four projects at these sites represent a major investment in Scotland’s food and drink sector, with the potential to directly create 36 jobs and support many more.
‘Through meticulous planning and research, the locations of these sites have been selected in keeping with the recent recommendations of the Rural Economy and Connectivity (REC) committee towards high energy and offshore, but they also benefit from being located in and around the Firth of Clyde, which has a heritage of production.
‘These locations will allow us to protect the health and safety of our fish with minimal impact on the environment.
‘At Dawnfresh, we are committed to supporting the local communities we operate in and will continue to provide local people in Argyll and Bute and North Ayrshire with information and opportunities to give their views throughout the application process.
‘We believe our investments will greatly benefit not only the local economy in each of these areas but also the wider Scottish economy, providing new jobs and aquaculture infrastructure.’
The high energy sites, which will operate using state-of-the art aquaculture equipment, are in areas which are in line with the recommendations of the recent REC committee report into salmon farming.
The sites will also go some way to realise the Scottish government’s ambition to sustainably grow the non-salmon finfish industry.
Dawnfresh currently farms at Loch Etive and Loch Awe in Argyll and Bute, and provides significant support to many community groups, sports teams, organisations and events. It will liaise closely with communities around the potential new sites to ensure benefits for these areas are maximised.
The company said it had already been in touch with local community councils, in September 2017, when current meters were placed in the water, and in December 2018 when CAR licence applications were submitted to SEPA.


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