Marine Harvest Scotland has applied for permission to site a new farm at Sconser Quarry, Skye.

Marine Harvest plans new Skye salmon farm

Marine Harvest Scotland has applied for permission to operate a new salmon farm east of Sconser Quarry on Skye.

The Norwegian-owned company has asked the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) for a Controlled Activities Regulations (CAR) licence to operate a group of 12 circular pens of 120m circumference at a maximum biomass of 2, 500 tonnes. It has also applied to Highland Council for planning permission for the farm, which would employ six full-time staff.

The move amounts to a further investment in Skye by Marine Harvest, which is currently building an £80 million fish feed plant at a former quarry at Kyleakin.

Steve Bracken: “We hope this news will be welcomed by the local community”

Steve Bracken, Business Support Manager for Marine Harvest Scotland, said: “Scottish farmed salmon continue to be very popular with consumers across the globe. And salmon is a major success story for the Highlands and Islands, providing much needed jobs in some of the most remote and fragile rural economies. We believe this site is particularly suitable for a salmon farm.”

Closing unpopular farm

If the Sconser salmon farm gains planning approval, it would be stocked in 2018, at the same time as the nearby farm at Balmeanach Bay. The two farms would then grow salmon simultaneously and if the Sconser Quarry farm produces salmon of a similar quality and size then Marine Harvest has committed to closing down the older farm.

Bracken explained: “We know the location of Balmeanach Bay has been unpopular with some of the local people for many years. If the new farm at Sconser Quarry proves successful, then we intend to shut down the Balmeanach Bay farm. We hope this news will be welcomed by the local community as we are keen to work in harmony with them.”

If Sconser Quarry salmon farm proved successful then the site at Balmeanach Bay would be closed and the pens, nets and moorings removed for recycling at the end of 2019, the company said.

Largest in Scotland

Marine Harvest Scotland is the largest salmon farming company in Scotland, producing more than 45,000 tonnes in 2016. The company has four hatcheries, five freshwater loch sites and 42 sea farms, situated in the Western Isles, Skye, Argyll, Wester Ross and Lochaber. Live fish are harvested at Mallaig and processed at the Blar Mhor processing plant in Fort William. In total more than 640 people are employed at these locations.

The company also owns a salmon processing plant at Rosyth, producing a range of value added salmon products for the consumer market.

In 2015, Marine Harvest’s Loch Leven salmon farm became the first in the UK to be accredited by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC).

Marine Harvest’s Sconser Quarry CAR application was published this week by SEPA, alongside an application by Kames, Scotland’s second-largest trout farmer, for a new site in the Sound of Jura, Argyll.

Kames wants 12 cages of 100m circumference, to be used for salmon or trout.


Published: 13/07/2017 at 10:13 am

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