Scotland’s oldest independent salmon farming business, Wester Ross Fisheries Limited, has bought a salmon farm near Ullapool, with the backing of a significant funding package from Bank of Scotland. The farm has been acquired to support the business’ long term growth plans.
Ownership of the farm will give Wester Ross Fisheries full control of the site, which was previously let by the business, allowing productions levels to increase by 30% within the next 12 months. This will help to meet the strong demand for sustainably farmed Scottish salmon.
Wester Ross Fisheries currently employs 60 members of staff, and is the largest private-sector employer in Ullapool. The new farm will help the business to secure existing jobs and create at least six new jobs in the Ross-shire area for people with experience in the aquaculture sector.
The growth of the business will also help it to meet demands in international markets, which is key to the salmon farming industry. Wester Ross Fisheries has seen its exports grow from 20% to 70% over the last five years and expects this to increase as it targets new markets in Middle East and Asia. The business currently exports salmon to Japan, Singapore and America.
Wester Ross has been trading in Scotland since 1977 and operates seawater sites on Loch Kannaird and Loch Broom, as well as a processing plant in Dingwall. The business specialises in a unique approach to farming and hand-rears its salmon. It also uses wrasse, a species of fish, for maintaining the challenge from wild sea lice.
Gilpin Bradley, managing director of Wester Ross Fisheries, said: “Over the past 40 years, Wester Ross has grown significantly and our natural approach to salmon farming has generated loyal customers from all over the world. We are expecting the new farm to help us to meet the increasing global demand for our products.
“We are dedicated to supporting the local economy and community well-being in Ullapool. Bank of Scotland has backed our business since 2006 and it has always helped us to maintain our position as Scotland’s only owner-operated salmon farming business.
Barrie Aird, relationship manager at Bank of Scotland, added: “The expansion of Wester Ross Fisheries Ltd. is a strong signal of sector confidence and highlights the importance of the Scottish salmon farming industry on the local economy.
“We worked closely with Wester Ross Fisheries to understand how the business operates and to secure opportunities for growth. Providing dedicated sector expertise is just one of the many ways that we are helping Scotland prosper.”