New salmon farm delivers £3m windfall for businesses

SSF-Westerbister-Orkney

Salmon farmer operator, Scottish Sea Farms, is to spend over £3m with suppliers throughout Scotland as it prepares to open its forthcoming new salmon farm off Lober Rock in the Scapa Flow, Orkney.

The new farm, which is due to go live in autumn 2019, will see a total infrastructure investment of £3.3m; over 90% of which will be spent with Scottish businesses, bringing a welcome jobs boost.

The newly-awarded contracts include spending £1.74m with the Gael Force Group in Inverness to build a 200t steel feed barge – the first to be built at the former Corpach Boatyard in Fort William – along with moorings, 12 x 80m salmon pens, underwater cameras and environmental monitoring technology.

It also includes £665k being spent with Macduff Shipyards in to build a 14m catamaran workboat, £324k with W&J Knox in Ayrshire including Seal Pro netting systems to help keep local marine life and salmon stocks safely apart, and maintain Scottish Sea Farms’ record of no seal shootings in Orkney for over three years and £106k with Leask Marine in Orkney to secure the moorings, barge and pens.

Scottish Sea Farms’ Managing Director Jim Gallagher said:

“These orders will equip our new farm with the latest technologies, ensuring we’re Scottish Technical Standard 2020 compliant and giving our salmon the very best environment in which to grow. We’ve worked with several of these suppliers for many years now as part of our long-standing policy of buying Scottish wherever possible and know their products to be tried and tested with regards to withstanding Orkney marine conditions.”

The new salmon farm is set to benefit non-aquaculture businesses too. Scottish Sea Farms’ Regional Production Manager for Orkney Richard Darbyshire explains:

“Not only will we be working with local suppliers to the sector, but our salmon pens will be constructed by Gael Force Fusion on the remote island of Sanday, generating spend on everything from hauliers, ferry travel and accommodation at the nearby Kettletoft Hotel, to generators, welfare units and sundries for as much as three months or more.”

In addition to generating revenue for Scottish businesses and service providers, the new farm will create six new full-time roles and lead to further job creation across the supply chain. Gael Force Group founder and Managing Director Stewart Graham says: “As part of a planned increase of 10 new employees in Lochaber, we have already advertised six newly-created fabricator roles as a direct result of the barge being built at Gael Force Boatbuilding in Corpach, and we are also increasing our workforce with multiple new roles at our pen-building facility, Gael Force Fusion in Oban.”

Managing Director of Leask Marine, Douglas Leask adds: “This latest expansion is great news, both for Scottish Sea Farms and locally. It secures steady employment for our specialist dive teams, increases opportunities for one of our larger vessels operating in Orkney waters and, in turn, will bring additional onward spend in our local communities.” 

These latest contract awards come on the back of a year in which Scottish Sea Farms spent a record £113m across 676 local suppliers – £33m of which was investment in its new RAS smolt hatchery at Barcaldine – equating to 75% of total supplier spend in 2018, with plans to invest a further £25m in capital infrastructure projects over the next 12 months. 

It’s estimated that Scotland’s salmon farmers combined spend in excess of £595m annually procuring goods and services from Scottish suppliers

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