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A CGI of a new wrasse hatchery at Machrihanish in Scotland. The exisiting facility is in the background. Image by Marine Harvest Scotland.
A CGI of a new wrasse hatchery at Machrihanish in Scotland. The exisiting facility is in the background. Image by Marine Harvest Scotland.

Marine Harvest’s plans to build a new wrasse hatchery close to their existing cleanerfish facility at Machrihanish have been given considerable public support.

The company launched a public consultation earlier this month in order to gauge the views of people in the surrounding area and, according to Steve Bracken, their Business Development Manager, the vast majority of the feedback has been positive.

Speaking to Fish Farming Expert, he said: “The drop-in meetings we organised [at the Ugadale Hotel and Campbelltown Town Hall] were very well attended and about 75% of those who completed the feedback forms were in favour of the new hatchery going ahead.”

The project had met with some opposition, notably from a group concerned about the impact the project might have on the scenery and the local flora and fauna, but in the light of the largely positive response, Marine Harvest is now keen to lodge a planning application.

“It’s still very early days,” Steve continues, “as we’ve just done the public consultation to date, but the next step will be starting the planning application process. If consent is granted we are hoping to start the build next year.”

Should it go ahead, the new 10,000 m2 hatchery is projected to cost £6 million and create up to 10 jobs.

It would be able to produce 800,000 wrasse a year, helping take the pressure off wild wrasse stocks, which have been heavily exploited by various salmon producers – both in Scotland and in Norway – over the last few years.