Scottish Sea Farms to invest £35m in Argyll Freshwater Hatchery

Scottish Sea Farms to invest £35m in Argyll Freshwater Hatchery

Salmon producer Scottish Sea Farms is to invest £35m in a major freshwater site near Oban, as part of a total £70m spend over the next few years which is set to create 25 permanent jobs.

The company, which recently won Business of the Year at the Scotland Food and Drink Excellence Awards 2016, has purchased the MRC Barcaldine site.  It plans to build a new land-based RAS freshwater facility (Recirculating Aquaculture System) at the site for rearing young salmon in environmentally friendly conditions.

With the site purchase now finalised, Scottish Sea Farms will embark on a period of consultation with the community as it looks to develop the site in a way that also benefits the community and supports sustainable growth in the area.

Jim Gallagher, Scottish Sea Farms managing director, said: “We have ambitious plans for sustainably growing the volumes of salmon we produce to meet increased demand across the world for premium Scottish salmon.  As part of this, we have been evaluating locations around Scotland to build and develop our freshwater business, and I am delighted that we have found a site that offers an ideal location providing everything we want in terms of power supply, freshwater and connection to the sea. 

“As a result of this investment, Argyll will benefit from high-quality jobs and training opportunities which will include disciplines such as fish husbandry, bio-chemistry and engineering.”

In designing and developing this re-circulation facility, Scottish Sea Farms will deploy best practice in fish health and husbandry, production and environmental impact.  The planned facility will use 90% less water than traditional freshwater sites, and will deliver significantly improved energy efficiency.  The facility will be used to rear smolts until they are ready to transfer to sea farms.

Jim Gallagher added: “This will be transformational for Scottish Sea Farms, raising our production of smolts from 5 million to 11 million annually, and helping us to meet the rising global demand for our premium Scottish salmon and to grow our harvest volumes and revenues sustainably.  It will also further increase our contribution to Scotland’s economic prosperity and the development of our coastal communities.”

Following the period of consultation Scottish Sea Farms hope to begin work on the site later this year, with the first fish reared in the new facility entering the water in 2019.


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