Marine Harvest planning – Fishfarmer Magazine

Marine Harvest planning11 March, 2011 –

FISH FARM operator Marine Harvest has welcomed Ross, Skye and Lochaber area planning committee’s decision to grant approval for the company’s plans to develop a new smolt rearing facility at Lochailort to stock its seawater farms.

The proposed location for the new facility, originally a commando training station during the second world war, subsequently became the site of the UK’s first to develop commercial scale salmon farming and is widely regarded as the home of the industry.

Marine Harvest business support manager Steve Bracken said Lochailort had ‘a unique place’ in the history of fish farming and it was fitting the Lochaber clachan should be the location for the latest expansion, some 45 years later.

He told The Oban Times: ‘Some of our staff still recall the early pioneering days when Unilever carried out their research. ‘Despite a few changes of name and ownership along the way, we are a big part of the business community in the Highlands and still sustaining the economy of some of the most remote and rural parts of the region.

‘This facility will be vital to the continued growth of the salmon farming industry in Scotland which is enjoying great success as people look for healthy food that is easy to prepare.’

The new £12 million facility will replace the existing smolt unit which has been in place for 16 years.

Marine Harvest will grow the salmon from eyed eggs until the smolt stage when they will be transferred into the company’s new seawater fish farms planned for the Minch.  The new hatchery will also help supply smolts for the company’s existing 25 sea farms across the west coast of the Highlands and the Western Isles.

As well as securing the positions of the existing four staff, a further six jobs will be created. This latest development follows an announcement in October 2009 that the company is expanding its seawater operations by creating offshore residential fish farms in various locations in the Minch.