There is a spring in the step of the hundred or so people who make up the Loch Duart team in Sutherland and The Outer Hebrides – the company’s two farming areas.
It relates to a steady upturn in the company’s fortunes after some difficult times, also to this month’s cause for celebration - the arrival of the “Lady Dee” at her new home in Lochmaddy.
Loch Duart’s new landing craft is seen above with Managing Director Alban Denton and Dee Macdonald as she joins the company’s existing fleet to enhance operational efficiency.
Farming is, by nature, a risky business with no guaranteed results, and farming at sea represents the ultimate in difficulty and unpredictability.
The weather alone can cause havoc with operations, especially harvesting, while minute changes in sea temperature can affect the growth of the fish and natural phenomena such as algae blooms and jellyfish shoals can effect whole salmon populations.
All these difficulties have been faced up to recently and, under new management and with a young, energetic and committed team, Loch Duart has successfully emerged from some tough times with morale high, salmon quality even higher and a buoyant world market in which the company’s premium product is in great demand.
Companies also depend on loyalty and the Lady Dee has been named in honour of Dee who has been with the company for five years and has made an outstanding contribution to the smooth running of Loch Duart’s Hebridean operations. Dee was the unanimous choice of Loch Duart’s Hebridean team who were given the task of finding the perfect name.
Managing Director, Alban Denton, who joined Loch Duart in 2015 and is spearheading the company’s growth and development plan, is delighted with the new vessel: “The Lady Dee is a major investment but also a vote of confidence in a team which, over the last two years, has massively improved our productivity and our prospects through hard work and innovation.
“We know that if we give our people the right tools, they will get the job done – and the quality of the salmon coming out of the water is as high as it has ever been in the company’s history.
“The condition of our water and seabed meet SEPA’s strict criteria in every sea loch and a variety of programmes are showing positive results against the industry’s number one enemy, sea lice.
“Loch Duart is in good shape but we are not complacent and are ready for the next challenge. We welcome the Lady Dee to our small fleet and look forward to the flexibility and productivity she brings to our operations.”
The Lady Dee is a powerful, purpose-built 19m steel landing craft, built by Exeter Fabrications. She is designed and equipped to work in the demanding weather conditions of NW Scotland.
The Lady Dee joins the Lady Heather, the Lady Ann, the Lady Sarah and the Sea Lion in Loch Duart’s expanded fleet.