Marine Harvest feed plant

An artist’s impression of the proposed Isle of Skye feed plant

Seafood giant Marine Harvest has been given the go-ahead to start work on a £93m new feed plant on the Isle of Skye, which will create 55 new permanent jobs.

Work on the plant will start later this month at the Altanavaig quarry in Kyleakin, after a Highland Council planning committee approved proposals.

At the new plant, Marine Harvest will produce fish feed and fish oil from salmon by-products, such as heads, guts and backbones. The facility will also be able to generate biogas, which will be used as an energy source for the production of the fish feed or oil.

“I’m delighted with the positive decision from the local authority and even more heartened by the overwhelming support we have had from the local community,” said Ben Hadfield, chief operating officer for Marine Harvest’s fish feed business, and managing director of Marine Harvest Scotland.

“We will do our utmost now to ensure that this large construction project is managed in a sensitive way. This provides a modern platform for us to further enhance the sustainability of the salmon farming sector.”

The Norwegian fishing giant is also investigating the construction of a small-scale fishmeal and fish oil plant in Scotland, as part of a drive to use all edible products from salmon processing.

“We are seeing rapidly increasing demand for salmon meal and salmon oil in sectors such as petfood and human nutrition, due to the health benefits associated with omega-3 fish oils,” said Bjørn Erik Flem, managing director of Marine Harvest Ingredients. “At the same time, we see the current solution for salmon is expensive and not as sustainable as we would like. I am confident we can do this better and as we integrate the business in Scotland, we must create an efficient and circular green economy.”