Rosyth-based salmon company Marine Harvest Scotland said it is continuing to invest and grow after starting to see the results of ploughing “substantial” sums into the business.
It comes as Norwegian parent company Marine Harvest Group posted record second-quarter profits. Operational earnings before interest and tax reached €198 million (£182m), compared to €149m a year earlier, “largely due to bigger fish and a healthy market as a result of strong demand for salmon”.
These results have been achieved due to a lot of hard workBen Hadfield
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The industry has been battling hurdles including sea lice and amoebic gill disease. Ben Hadfield, managing director of Marine Harvest Scotland and chief operating officer of Marine Harvest’s fish feed segment, said: “We were determined to tackle these issues and have undertaken a massive investment programme that includes the introduction of new technology along with improvements in the design of existing equipment.
“This is a great result for MHS, our shareholders, our staff and local communities. These results have been achieved due to a lot of hard work focused on specific targets such as reduced sea lice numbers, more efficient growth and lower mortality levels.”
The company said the introduction of wrasse and lumpsuckers – so-called cleaner fish – has helped reduce sea lice levels, with plans to scale up production and invest £3.5m in farming cleaner fish. Furthermore, investment in sea lice control has amounted to £12m in the last year alone.
The company also highlighted growing global demand for salmon, and figures produced earlier this month found that the value of exports from Scotland in the first six months of this year were up 53 per cent to more than £400m. Additionally, salmon was one export along with whisky and beer that lifted Britain’s exports by 8.5 per cent to an all-time high of £10.2 billion in the same period.
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Marine Harvest said it continues to invest in new farms to meet demand, having recently submitted applications for a salmon farm off the coast of Rum and at Sconser quarry.
It also said a new £93m fish feed plant is currently under construction at Kyleakin quarry on Skye and a £26m salmon hatchery is nearly complete at Inchmore in Glenmoriston.
Hadfield added that these two projects alone will create almost 70 permanent jobs. “Our workforce is now close to 700, with a further 500 jobs in the salmon processing facility in Rosyth… we will continue to invest to grow.”
The firm in March last year said it was cutting 80 jobs as part of a restructuring plan.