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Mowi looks to Ireland for help handling bumper Scottish harvest

Plenty more fish in the sea: Mowi is expecting to harvest 65,000 tonnes of salmon in Scotland this year. Photo: Mowi.
Plenty more fish in the sea: Mowi is expecting to harvest 65,000 tonnes of salmon in Scotland this year. Photo: Mowi.

Scotland’s biggest salmon farmer, Mowi, is expecting to harvest so many fish this year that it will have to ship some to Ireland for processing before returning them to the UK.

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Mowi, formerly Marine Harvest, anticipates producing around 65,000 gutted weight tonnes in 2019, a rise of more than 60% compared to the 40,000 gwt harvested last year, when volumes were limited because of a decision to stock fewer fish in 2016.

Mowi Scotland processing and feed operations director Ewan MacColl told the company’s newsletter, The Scoop, that 2018 had been a year of gearing up for a bumper year in 2019.

“We are expecting to produce around 65,000 tonnes next year. Increased volumes bring both challenges and opportunities,” he told The Scoop.

Ewan MacColl: Expecting Mowi Scotland to harvest 65,000 gwt in 2019.
Ewan MacColl: Expecting Mowi Scotland to harvest 65,000 gwt in 2019.

Additional 25,000 tonnes

“In terms of the operational side of the business we need to plan to process an additional 25,000 tonnes [compared to 2018]. Our Blar Mhor processing plant in Fort William will be at capacity in the second half of next year so we are looking west to our colleagues in Ireland.

“We have a processing plant in Donegal which is 100% organic. Currently, we process 10,000 tonnes of salmon at Donegal and there is capacity to scale up this operation. We have just completed a trial in December which went very well. There is still some work to do but we are confident that we will be able to transport fish from Argyll to Donegal for processing and then back to Scotland for onward distribution.”

Mowi’s new feed mill at Kyleakin on Skye will become fully operational this year, and MacColl also has responsibility for ensuring Mowi’s farms in Scotland start receiving feed from the mill instead of external suppliers.

Truly integrated business

He told the newsletter: “When Kyleakin is up and running next year, it will supply all our farms in Scotland, Ireland, the Faroe Islands and some in Norway. In excess of 100,000 tonnes of feed will be produced at Kyleakin in 2019, rising to 170,000 tonnes in 2020 when the mill should be operating at full capacity.

“Kyleakin will make a significant impact in so many ways. Apart from the obvious benefits in terms of job creation and positive effects on the local economy, it will also mean that we are a truly integrated business in Scotland. We will be producing our own salmon feed, running our own cleaner fish programme as well as growing, processing and ultimately selling the salmon.”

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