Scotland's first salmon farming visitor centre and cafe has been planned for Skye.
Kyleakin site manager, Kevin O’Leary, expects the Marine Harvest factory to be open by the end of this year. Once the plant was running smoothly, he said the focus would be on developing the visitor centre and an accommodation block.
“Our plan is to build two extra buildings,” explained Mr O’Leary. “One is an accommodation block for people visiting, because in Skye it can be quite a struggle to get accommodation, and the other is a visitor centre built overlooking the gorgeous view to Raasay and beyond.
“If somebody comes on Skye, it’s one of the first places they can stop on the main road, and we’d like to provide visitors with an opportunity to learn about Marine Harvest and salmon farming while enjoying a taste of our Scottish salmon.
“After we get the factory up and running at full capacity we can start to concentrate on those buildings. We’re just at the initial stages of planning, but would like to build something that really impresses visitors to Skye as well as our local community.”
Marine Harvest has spent upwards of £100 million on the Kyleakin feed plant, which will have an annual capacity of 170,000 tonnes.
“We’re aiming to get up to capacity by the end of next year,” said Mr O’Leary. “There’ll be a start-up process then we’ll build up to full output during the rest of 2019.”
The Kyleakin plant will employ 55 people in a diverse range of permanent jobs and will be one of the most efficient and sustainable fish feed plants globally.
Mr O’Leary said he had so far recruited about 20% of his staff, mainly the senior team, who he said have a huge depth of experience in this type of plant and process. Mr O'Leary stated that the majority of the workforce will come from in and around the Skye area. He also said nearly a quarter of a million pounds has been spent on training.
Image from Marine Harvest.