Work to build a brand new fish farm in Lochailort, on the west coast of Scotland, is underway.
Marine Harvest is the largest producer of farmed salmon in Scotland and has been present on the site for over 30 years. The new farm is their biggest new build to date and will greatly help to expand production and bring new technologies to the forefront of their business.
The project started in January 2012 and will be completed in March 2013 at a cost of £15.2 million.
Ben Hadfield, Production Manager at Marine Harvest said:
“Our production of juvenile salmon, known as smolts, is around 12 million per year and we hope to increase that to 15 million per year thanks to this new centre.
“Due to the new technology involved it increases the number of fish we’re able to produce but it also increases the size and flexibility that we have to put smolts to sea all year round.”
Marine Harvest are building recirculation units within the new centre, allowing water to be purified within the building and re-used, rather than using water from rivers.
Ben Hadfield explained:
“We take a lot less out the river and also we control the light and the temperature so we can have any season we want at any time of the year. The building also contains five units so we can have different seasons under the same roof.”
Robertsons, the infrastructure, support services and construction group is the main contractor, Jacobs are the civil consultants and the architect is Duncan Kelly.
Frank Reid, Regional Managing Director for Robertson said:
“Scottish salmon is one of the country’s greatest modern day success stories and we are delighted that we have been chosen to build this impressive new facility. We have the same passion for delivering high quality as Marine Harvest and look forward to working in partnership with them to deliver this project.”
The Aquaculture equipment inside the building is being provided by Aquatec Solutions and IAT is providing specialist ozonation equipment.
Ben Hadfield said:
“The unit itself is approximately 150,000 square feet and it is composed of five key compartments; egg incubation, fry production, parr production and then smolts; smolt 1 and smolt 2.
“We bring in 10–12 million eggs and they come in during the natural cycle of December to March, when fish would normally lay their eggs in the river.
“Some of the eggs will be put on water which is a bit warmer to speed them up, some we put on water that is ambient and some we put on water that is chilled. We control the temperature so we spread out the periods that we can start producing smolts. We’re aiming to get smolts in seawater pens all year round so we can get an even supply base for the market.”
The development is located on a greenfield site, around 400 metres from Inverailort Castle, where commando’s were trained during World War Two. This was the first castle in Scotland to be commandeered by Churchill’s commando regiments.
The 150,000 square foot centre is a single storey building and much of the construction is underground, such as the ozonation tanks and bio filtration equipment. Also half the fish tanks are located below the soul of the building.
Ben Hadfield said:
“We basically have our own concrete batching plant set up on site, which brought about a very large saving in cash but also has made it more environmentally friendly. We estimate that we have taken over 900 trucks off the road by doing this – given the total concrete usage is around 8000 cubic metres.
“The building has a curved roof which is grey in colour to minimise its visual impact, and has a steel frame construction with an insulated steel roof. The walls are predominantly to be clad in timber, with feature areas of olive green steel sheeting, white render and natural stone.
“The whole perimeter is surrounded by a level of screening and there is a tree planting requirement all the way round the building. All the subterranean construction of the tanks, bio-filters and ozonation tanks is currently taking place, the steel frame is erected and the roof is being constructed.”
Ben spoke positively about the build and its impact for both the company and the community.
“It has been relatively straight forward, we chose a company that has done waste water treatment before and we used a concrete specialist which has ensured the smooth running of the build.
“For Marine Harvest, it’s the most significant development in terms of scale and budget that we’ve ever undertaken. The area is where fish farming started in the 1970’s and the works on the site had become a little bit run down as fish farming had expanded and moved away, but we hope to bring a positive presence back into that community.”