Major investment at Goat Island augurs well for future

The most positive development for the Stornoway fishing fleet in recent times is taking shape on Goat Island with a multi-million pound expansion of the MacDuff Shellfish processing plant.

Thursday, 30th September 2021, 12:19 pm
Iain MacLeod's says the partnership arrangement with the port authority will allow them to double production within five years. Pic: Ronan Wilson

MacDuff have partnered with Stornoway Port Authority to deliver a new facility which will be owned by the Authority and leased back to the company who have also invested heavily in new equipment.

The greatly expanded facility was handed over by Lewis Builders last Friday to MacDuff whose Stornoway manager, Iain MacLeod, paid tribute to the work done.

Mr MacLeod said the investment would allow them to promote a new brand, Wild Hebridean-caught Langoustines, within the MacDuff range adding place-specific value for the first time to a world-class product.

Consumer trials in Spain during the summer confirmed that the “freshness, sweetness and all sorts of other qualities” would make the newly-branded product a success in the market place. Mr MacLeod said the aim is to double production at Goat Island within five years.

The company, which is part of the Canadian Clearwater group, has also invested in state of the art transport which will take catches from Lochinver, Ullapool and Skye to augment what the local fleet delivers. Ideally, said Mr MacLeod, they need 20 local boats to supply the factory – about double the current fleet.

Alex MacLeod, chief executive of Stornoway Port Authority, told the Gazette: “We are getting set for the official opening of this new factory. We are delighted that the Stornoway Port Authority was able to facilitate another multi-million pound investment, which will be a huge boost to the economy of the islands.

“The MacDuff factory will increase access and exposure to lucrative international markets, particularly in China and the Far East. We know we have world class fish and shellfish around our shores and this investment will increase the return for our fishermen. It is excellent news”

Duncan MacInnes, chief executive of the Western Isles Fishermen’s Association, said: “MacDuff have been the catalyst that has allowed young fishermen to invest in the trawler sector in Stornoway. They have been very supportive in developing the local fleet”.