The first two sites in Marine Harvest’s £40m expansion of fish farming in Scotland have been unveiled.
The sites at Stulaigh, near Loch Eynort on South Uist and Helisay in the Sound of Barra, will employ 12 staff and produce up to 8,000 tonnes of salmon over a 22 month farming cycle.
As Alan Sutherland, Managing Director of Marine Harvest Scotland explained: “Demand for Scottish salmon continues to be strong and the Western Isles of Scotland is a wonderful environment in which to grow our fish. In October 2009 we announced our plans to expand in Scotland and since then we have been carrying out extensive analysis to identify the best locations and submit planning applications.
“These two sites are a clear demonstration of our commitment to the Western Isles and to Scotland.”
The moorings for both farms will be put in place next month followed by the fish farm pens. The farm will be stocked with smolts in April.
In 2009 the company announced their plans to expand, increasing production from 40,000 tonnes to 60,000 tonnes.
A further three potential sites have been identified and early consultation with local communities is underway in these areas.
Earlier plans had looked at residential fish farms but following discussions with local communities it became clear they would prefer staff to be based on-shore.
Demand for Scottish salmon continues to grow and new markets in places such as Africa and the Middle East are opening up. In 2011 Marine Harvest Scotland became the first company to sell Scottish salmon to China and has now supplied 1,500 tonnes.
Marine Harvest is the sole supplier of fresh Scottish farmed salmon to Sainsbury’s, whose customers can trace the origin of their salmon to the loch in which it was grown as the location of the farm is printed on each pack.