Marybank salmon processing plant to close - up to 100 jobs affected

Up to 100 people are employed at the plantUp to 100 people are employed at the plant
Up to 100 people are employed at the plant
“A grave blow” has been delivered to the islands, with the closure of the Bakkafrost salmon processing facility in Markbank, Stornoway, where up to100 people are employed.

As we went to press yesterday (Wednesday), the Stornoway Gazette had been seeking confirmation from the Faroese owned company ahead of an expected official announcement today (Thursday).

It is understood that the rationale for the company’s actions will be linked to lack of supply for the factory in the latter part of this year.

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Many of the staff at the Marybank factory have given long service to the company and previously to Scottish Salmon. The Faroese giant acquired Scottish Salmon in 2019 and currently employ around 600 people on Scotland’s west coast, many of them in the Western Isles.

Staff were summoned to a meeting at the Marybank factory where a senior manager from Edinburgh informed them of the devastating news.

A spokesperson for Bakkafrost Scotland said they are “considering a temporary, but extended, closure of our facilities at Marybank and Arnish in Stornoway, affecting around 80 jobs.

“The business has harvested the majority of our production in the first part of the year and there will be minimal harvesting activity over the next 18 months in the North, this is due to stocking timing and locations,” they added.

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Speaking this morning, Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Torcuil Crichton said: “This is grave blow for the Marybank employees, some of whom are long-serving and skilled staff, and the island economy.”

“I have spoken to the company this week and realistically does not look likely that the mothballed plant will be re-opened.

“Bakkafrost have given an assurance that the 80 plus fishfarm site jobs in the Western Isles are secure but I urge HIE and the Scottish Government and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to have a co-ordinated response to find alternative employment for the workers and to help maintain the fishfarm sector in the islands.”

The deputy leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Duncan Macinnes, said that they were urgently seeking information and that suggestions of a possible adverse announcement were “a matter for huge concern”.