Dawnfresh plans £16 million boost in West of Scotland

Dawnfresh community engagement event
Dawnfresh community engagement event

The UK’s largest producer of farmed trout has unveiled plans to invest a total of £16 million and create 36 jobs in the West of Scotland, in a show of confidence to Scotland’s growing food and drink sector.

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Dawnfresh, which already employs over 500 people across Scotland, including more than 70 in aquaculture, has today submitted scoping reports for four fish farm sites across Argyll and Bute and North Ayrshire as the first steps in the planning process. If the company proceeds with a planning application and it is consented, the proposed off-shore sites at Ardentinny, Isle of Bute, Great Cumbrae and Little Cumbrae would produce around 14,000T of trout per 22.5 month cycle.

The sites would bring a host of economic benefits to both areas as well the wider Scottish economy including:

  • £16 million investment in the Firth of Clyde sites
  • 36 permanent fulltime jobs across the four sites and on service vessels
  • 7 new workboats to be built
  • 4 new feed barges to be built
  • Increased trout production for Scotland of around 7,000 tons per year which equates to a value of £45.5m of yearly production based on current market value – almost doubling the current production level in Scotland.

Additional downstream jobs will be created and safeguarded through the supply, servicing and maintenance of the sites and will create jobs for suppliers elsewhere in Scotland through boat and feed barge construction, equipment provision with further positions created in processing. The 2017 HIE report on Scottish Aquaculture quantifies the knock-on benefit of aquaculture to Scotland as able to support approx. 4.8FTE (Full Time Equivalent) positions per 1 FTE direct position which could equate to up to 170 additional FTE positions in Scotland in addition to the 36 direct positions.

The sites will operate using state-of-the art aquaculture equipment, leading the way in the Scottish aquaculture sector’s development of high energy locations. The sites are also offshore and in areas which are in line with the recommendations of the recent Scottish Parliament Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee report into salmon farming. The sites will also go some way to realise the Scottish Governments ambition to sustainably grow the non-salmon finfish industry.

Dawnfresh has established itself at the heart of communities around its current fish farms at Loch Etive and Loch Awe in Argyll and Bute, providing significant support to many community groups, sports teams, organisations and events. It will liaise closely with communities around the potential new sites to ensure benefits for these areas are maximised. 

Dawnfresh has already been in touch with local community councils, in September 2017 when current meters were placed in the water and in December 2018 when CAR license applications were submitted to SEPA.

Alison Hutchins, Farming Director for Dawnfresh, said:

“Our four projects at these sites represent a major investment in Scotland’s food and drink sector with the potential to directly create 36 jobs and support many more. Through meticulous planning and research, the locations of these sites have been selected in keeping with the recent recommendations of the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee towards high energy and off-shore but they also benefit from being located in and around The Firth of Clyde which has a heritage of production. These locations will allow us to protect the health and safety of our fish with minimal impact on the environment.”

“At Dawnfresh, we are committed to supporting the local communities we operate in and will continue to provide local people in Argyll and Bute and North Ayrshire with information and opportunities to give their views throughout the application process. We believe our investments will greatly benefit not only the local economy in each of these areas but also the wider Scottish economy, providing new jobs and aquaculture infrastructure.”

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