This week has seen the culmination of a project which was initiated back in 2007.
The opening of a new £1.6m harbour at Ardveenish in Barra will provide an additional 90m of secure berthing and complement the existing pier.
Funding from the project came after Comhairle nan Eilean Siar recognised the need for a safe, sheltered harbour and agreed capital funding of £1.25m.
Subsequent funding of £283,000 was secured from the Coastal Communities Fund and £125,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise to enable the project to proceed. Barratlantic provided the land on which the harbour is built.
Maintaining and developing a significant local fishing fleet is seen as essential to the long term fishing, fish processing and shellfish export activity in Barra.
The area has accounted for significant fleet investment in recent years particularly in the trawl sector.
With support from the Comhairle’s Fisheries Investment Scheme and the Royal Bank of Scotland, seven local skippers, many of them under 40, have been assisted into vessel ownership.
The harbour investment also supports the processing sector with Barratlantic, one of the largest businesses on the island, employing around 40 people.
Commenting on the completion of the harbour Alasdair Macleod, Chair of the Comhairle’s Sustainable Development Committee said: “It is gratifying to see this significant investment in a strategic fishing location in the Outer Hebrides benefiting both the industry and overall area economic development.”