Brand new facility could operational after 2025. Expansion by 2021.
In a press release, Mowi Scotland writes that is planning to expand its Blar Mhor processing plant near Fort William. It is also exploring the option of a brand new processing facility at its Kyleakin fish feed plant on the Isle of Skye.
“With capacity-increasing modifications made over the past three decades, last year our incredible workforce managed to process 66,000 tonnes of salmon at our Blar Mhor plant. However, with no more internal space available to us in the existing structure, the building is now the limiting factor for any future growth,” said Operations Director (Processing) Ewan MacColl.
Standalone processing unit
From here, a maximum of around 50,000 fish are processed, packed into iceboxes and then put into 16 (sometimes 20) trucks a day.
“After much consideration and expert review, we feel that a standalone processing unit alongside Blar Mhor can provide the additional capacity required for the next five years, and also assist us with the more manual operation associated with a growing demand for premium quality standards and brands. We will soon be applying for planning permission with hopes to start construction late this year with the facility being operational mid-2021,” he added.
Not the level of automation that this business needs
Mowi COO (Farming Scotland & Ireland) Ben Hadfield said that “while the expansion of Blar Mhor does help with the required dexterity for our premium brands in the medium term, it is not the level of automation that this business needs to be prepared for the future”. He added that the solution is “a plant next to the sea with efficiencies that process whole live fish into trimmed fillets and full utilisation of all by-products to create a fuller circular economy.”
Mowi added that it wanted to build a new processing facility in Scotland, at a preferred location within its GBP 125 million fish feed plant and marine pier at Kyleakin.
The company wrote that it has now received Major Pre-Application Advice from Highland Council for its proposal, a first step in a planning process that includes an environmental impact assessment and public consultation.
“If we were successful with our planning application, then the new facility would not be operational until after 2025,” added Ewan.