Up to 20 workers set be employed at airbase venture – Fishupdate.com

Up to 20 workers set be employed at airbase venture Published:  15 August, 2014

THE first Scottish salmon farm built on land is set to begin production later this year at the community-owned Machrihanish Airbase, the Courier can reveal.

It will mean up to 20 new jobs with the potential for many more.All previous fish farms in the UK have used sea cages, criticised for sea lice and pollution problems in lochs. However, Norwegian firm Niri has developed a unique system which means fish can be kept in secure land-based tanks, producing healthier and cheaper salmon.The company will start with two tanks, in the former NATO airbase’s Gaydon hangar, each producing 1,000 tonnes of salmon a year.Plans for a change of use of the hangar have just been approved by Argyll and Bute Council. A full planning application for an ambitious expansion plan is to follow, ahead of which consultations will be held.

The two tanks should take just weeks to construct.Arve Gravdal, Niri founder and chief executive, said: ‘We believe our methods are the best developed in the world. We’ve found solutions to all the problems small land-based farms have encountered.’The system is very eco-friendly. Instead of being discharged into the sea, waste or sludge is dried out and can be sold as fertiliser. Niri also plans to recycle the sludge, producing biogas and heat.

The scheme has won praise from politicians and conservationists.Mr Gravdal said: ‘Our mission is to become a leading producer of high-quality seafood on land, however we take our environmental responsibilities seriously. Nothing nasty gets pumped into the sea, there can be no escapes from our tanks and it is a disease-free environment for the salmon.’|Our system will meet all fish health and welfare requirements.’The community, the council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) have been really helpful in making this development and personal dream a reality.’

Mr Gravdal added that he aims to complement Scotland’s renowned salmon farming industry and work hand-in-hand with local producers.

Chic Brodie, South Scotland MSP, who helped bring Niri to Scotland said: ‘This is a great project. It’s good for the environment and will also be good for the community with new jobs.’I introduced Arve Gravdal to Alex Salmond. His company were looking at sites in Scotland and Ireland.’I know Argyll and Bute MSP Mike Russell is also extremely pleased with the plans, and HIE helped seal the deal.’Jim Martin, local businessman and chairman of MACC Development Ltd, the trading arm of the airbase’s community company, said: ‘The Niri project is fantastic for Kintyre, our young people and for Scotland.’

David Smart, HIE’s head of regional development, said: ‘We have worked with Niri since the company’s initial interest in Scotland, and we continue to be impressed by its ambition and drive. ‘Niri’s decision to choose Machrihanish for this innovative project endorses the potential of Argyll and the Islands for attracting new jobs and investment.

‘We are looking forward to continuing to work with the business and seeing how the project develops.’

14 days 1 month Tributes paid to Archie McFarlane Scottish shipyard secures £3 million aquac… Marine Harvest pulls out of Chilean operation Fishupdate Briefing Scottish mussels take starring role Scottish salmon exports rise by £60 million The fisher queen Friday 22 August 2014 prices at Peterhead Mackerel on menu as UK bids to overcome Ru… The sick fish website The not-so-wellboat Tragic haul for New Zealand trawler Quotas cut for 10 EU countries Up to 20 workers set be employed at airbas… UK’s top 60 chippies named Tributes paid to Archie McFarlane Anger at sledgehammer” injunction on fishe… Scottish Government meets to discuss Russi… Ireland responds to Russian sanctions Norwegian fish farmers react to Russian sa…