A NEW salmon farm on Orkney is set to generate more than £3 million of business with Scottish suppliers as well as creating jobs.
The Scottish Sea Farms site off Lober Rock in the Scapa Flow, which will be operational this autumn, will see a total infrastructure investment of £3.3 million, over 90 per cent of which will be spent with Scottish companies.
The newly awarded contracts include £1.74 million with the Gael Force Group in Inverness to build a 200 tonne steel feed barge – the first to be built at the former Corpach Boatyard in Fort William – along with moorings, 12 x 80m salmon pens, underwater cameras and environmental monitoring technology.
Macduff Shipyards in Aberdeenshire has been commissioned to build a 14m catamaran workboat at £665,000.
And W&J Knox of Ayrshire has won £324,000 of orders, which include Seal Pro netting systems to maintain Scottish Sea Farms’ record of no seal shootings in Orkney in more than three years.
Meanwhile, £106,000 will be spent with local company Leask Marine in Orkney to secure the moorings, barge and pens.
Scottish Sea Farms’ managing director Jim Gallagher said: ‘These orders will equip our new farm with the latest technologies, ensuring we’re Scottish Technical Standard 2020 compliant and giving our salmon the very best environment in which to grow.
‘We’ve worked with several of these suppliers for many years now as part of our long-standing policy of buying Scottish wherever possible, and know their products to be tried and tested with regards to withstanding Orkney marine conditions.’
The new salmon farm is set to benefit non-aquaculture businesses too, said Scottish Sea Farms.
Regional production manager for Orkney Richard Darbyshire said: ‘Not only will we be working with local suppliers to the sector, but our salmon pens will be constructed by Gael Force Fusion on the remote island of Sanday, generating spend on everything from hauliers, ferry travel and accommodation at the nearby Kettletoft Hotel, to generators, welfare units and sundries for as much as three months or more.’
The new farm will also create six new full-time roles and lead to further job creation across the supply chain.
Gael Force Group founder and managing director Stewart Graham said: ‘As part of a planned increase of 10 new employees in Lochaber, we have already advertised six newly created fabricator roles as a direct result of the barge being built at Gael Force Boatbuilding in Corpach, and we are also increasing our workforce with multiple new roles at our pen building facility, Gael Force Fusion in Oban.’
Managing director of Leask Marine Douglas Leask also welcomed Scottish Sea Farms’ expansion.
‘It secures steady employment for our specialist dive teams, increases opportunities for one of our larger vessels operating in Orkney waters and, in turn, will bring additional onward spend in our local communities.’
These latest contract awards come on the back of a year in which Scottish Sea Farms spent a record £113 million across 676 local suppliers, said the company.
Some £33 million of this was investment in the farmer’s new RAS smolt hatchery at Barcaldine. There are plans to invest a further £25 million in capital infrastructure projects over the next 12 months.
It’s estimated that Scotland’s salmon farmers combined spend in excess of £595 million annually procuring goods and services from Scottish suppliers.
Picture: SSF’s farm at Westerbister in Orkney