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Around 80 jobs face the axe under Lewis processing plant closure plans



Around 80 jobs face the axe under Lewis processing plant closure plans

The Bakkafrost processing plant at Marybank on the outskirts of Stornoway, Isle of Lewis.

Bakkafrost Scotland will have ‘minimal harvesting’ in northern region for next 18 months

Salmon farmer Bakkafrost Scotland is planning the “temporary
but extended closure” of its processing facility at Marybank near Stornoway on
the Isle of Lewis, with the probable loss of around 80 jobs.

Bakkafrost Scotland’s harvest station at Arnish, four miles
to the south of the processing plant, will also close under the plan.

The move is partly a consequence of Bakkafrost Scotland’s strategic decision to harvest most of its fish in the first half of the year to avoid biological problems caused by environmental factors in late summer.

Minimal harvesting

“I can confirm we are considering a temporary, but extended,
closure of our facilities at Marybank and Arnish in Stornoway, potentially
affecting about 80 jobs,” the Faroese-owned company said in a statement.

“The business has harvested the majority of our stock in the
first part of the year and there will be minimal harvesting activity over the
next 18 months. However, due to stock timing and locations this places our
Northern operations in a challenging position.

“Our board has been forced to consider extremely difficult
scenarios in order to futureproof the business and secure remaining jobs across
Scotland. One of the scenarios proposed is that we close the Arnish Harvest
Station and the Marybank Processing Facility, for an extended period.

“We intend to start a period of collective consultation with
those potentially affected and hope to complete this over the coming weeks.”

Post-smolt solution

Bakkafrost Scotland is a subsidiary of Faroese fish farmer
Bakkafrost Group, which is investing millions of pounds in facilities to grow 500g
post-smolts at Applecross, in Wester Ross. The facility – and a second post-smolt
plant planned at the Hunterston Port and Resource Centre (PARC) on the Ayrshire
coast – are expected to help smooth out the peaks and troughs of the company’s

In November last year, parent company Bakkafrost issued redundancy notices to 140 processing staff working in value-added product-related areas in the Faroes. The company said that as a result of changes in the Faroese revenue tax, it had adjusted the strategy for contracted value-added products to reduce contract exposure for 2024.

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