Mowi's pier at Kyleakin, pictured, would not limit the size of vessel transporting the salmon, as is currently the case at Mallaig harvest station. Photo: Mowi.

Mowi proposes new processing plant at Kyleakin

Mowi Scotland is looking at building a state-of-the-art processing facility at its feed plant at Kyleakin, Skye to cope with increasing volumes of salmon.

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The plan is the company’s preferred option for handling the increased harvests expected in coming years.

Other options under considerations are:

  • increasing capacity in Fort William, either by expanding the current processing facility at Blar Mhor, or by identifying a suitable site elsewhere in Fort William
  • increasing the capacity at Mowi’s processing plant in Donegal, Ireland where some of Scotland’s output is currently processed;
  • expanding Mowi’s value-added facility at Rosyth, Fife and increasing its scope;
  • introducing ocean processing onboard Mowi’s vessels

In an article in the May edition of Mowi Scotland’s staff magazine, The Scoop, managing director Ben Hadfield said: “We are fortunate to have several solutions available to us for consideration and will soon begin a thorough consultation process with key stakeholders to develop the best solution for our staff, our business, our customers and the communities in which we operate.”

Ben Hadfield says it makes sense of optimise the new pier at Kyleakin.

Future capacity in mind

He added: “While all options are on the table at this point, and whilst it is still early days and there is a lot of work to do, a preferred option is to build a new state-of-the-art facility at our feed plant at Kyleakin. The reasons that made Kyleakin our preferred choice to build our new feed plant are also relevant when choosing a location for a fish processing facility. We have invested a lot of money into the pier and it makes sense to optimise that.

“We would be able to bring our salmon directly from our farms by sea to Kyleakin and the pier would not limit the size of vessel transporting the salmon as is currently the case at Mallaig where the salmon are harvested. At Kyleakin, we could build a facility with future capacity in mind and we could harvest, process and fillet the fish all in the same location.”

Hadfield points out that many things need to come together before a decision is finalised, including staff consultation, a detailed plan, and board approval.

The target for completion and full operation of the new plant is 2024.

Retaining talent

“I want to reassure all staff that whichever option is deemed the best solution to take forward, everything will be done to ensure we retain our talent,” said Hadfield. “Fish processing at Mowi Scotland involves around 150 people, including the harvest station at Mallaig, the teams involved in transportation and the staff at the Blar.

“As with any changes we have made previously in the business, our desire is to retain our depth of expertise. We will therefore look at work shift adjustments, refined roles, use of new technologies, supporting relocation or providing transport and accommodation.

“Consultation will continue over the next few months and we will start to commission specific feasibility and impact studies to inform a detailed plan ready for the end of the year. We will continue to keep everybody informed as we work through each milestone and I encourage all staff to become an active part of what is sure to be an exciting development for Mowi in Scotland.”