Marine Harvest to open four open-sea farms

Workers operating a Marine Harvest sea farm. Photo: Marine Harvest.

Workers operating a Marine Harvest sea farm. Photo: Marine Harvest.

Leading farmed salmon company Marine Harvest plans to invest GBP 40 million (EUR 43.4 million) on new fish farms in the Highlands and Islands. The four new salmon farms will create 40 jobs and be built in remote, exposed locations to stimulate production such that it can meet increasing European demand.

Said farms would be triple the size of existing farms and the first of their kind in Scotland. The firm hopes to begin stocking the new farms by September 2012.

Marine Harvest is exploring 12 sites around the Minch, in the Western Isles, Highland and Argyll and Bute council areas. Planning applications will be submitted to local authorities for the best four sites, The Press and Journal reports.

The sites being considered are around the islands of Eriskay, Barra, Sandray, Pabbay, Mingulay, Berneray, Canna, Rum, Muck and Coll. A shore base at Barra is part of the plan.

“If the best sites are round about the Barra area, that would be ideal for us,” said Steve Bracken, business support manager of Marine Harvest. “The locations we are looking at we hope will have good currents going through the farms.”

“Large fish farms like these wouldn’t be allowed in sea lochs where we are at the moment – the limit is 2,500 tonnes [and] these could hold 5,000 tonnes. By farming in more remote areas, we are further from wild fishing interests,” he added.


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