New fish processing facility at Dingwall will help Highland firm manage salmon production "from egg to plate"
Get the Ross-shire Journal sent to your inbox every week and swipe through an exact replica of the day's newspaper
Loch Duart’s Dingwall fish processing plant is now fully staffed and ready to "close the circle" for the north west based Scottish farming company.
With 60 new jobs created at the Dingwall factory, which was acquired in June 2020, Loch Duart now has the ability to harvest its salmon during the day and have it processed and packed by hand at the plant overnight for onward transportation to customers across the world.
Harvesting their fish in the Hebrides and Sutherland, the proximity of the Dingwall plant allows Loch Duart to deliver its salmon for processing very quickly. The plant is a world class, BRC accredited Grade AA unit and Loch Duart insists on the gutting and packing being done by hand to maintain the fine quality of its salmon.
The plant offers the flexibility to create the range of fillets and fillet portions which customers are looking for, while bringing exceptional quality control to every stage of the process.
Managing director Mark Warrington said: “Now, for the first time, Loch Duart has started processing its own salmon. Our beautiful new branded boxes are rolling out of our Dingwall plant for distribution to customers worldwide.
"The Dingwall plant is a world class seafood facility and, in addition to gutting, packing and filleting our own stock, Loch Duart is processing for other quality Scottish producers. The factory is starting to develop real momentum and we’re delighted to be bringing jobs back to the Dingwall plant, with 60 new staff joining the Loch Duart team.”
Russell Leslie, general manager of the Loch Duart processing plant in Dingwall, said: “The great thing about these premises is the quality of the build and the exceptional amount of space. This extra space allows us to handle the physical distancing of our staff while making no compromises on the quality of the packing and filleting. Having previously worked in the facility I have been able to build a new team who have the skills and enthusiasm to handle Loch Duart salmon, fresh from our farms in Sutherland and the Uists.
“These are skilled jobs, vital to the economy of the Highlands and it’s great to see how the new team has risen to the challenge of helping prepare high quality salmon which will be enjoyed not just across Britain, but around the world.”
Both Mr Warrington and Mr Leslie worked in the Dingwall factory at the start of their careers in aquaculture and salmon processing and are proud to be revitalising the plant and creating new jobs.
Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch MSP and Scotland's finance minister, Kate Forbes, welcomed the news.
“It was desperately disappointing when the Edinburgh Salmon Company announced it would be closing its Dingwall processing plant and the resulting job losses," she said.
“Two years on, I am thrilled to see Loch Duart firmly established in these premises with the creation of over 60 jobs in the town.
“I recently spoke to senior management and was delighted to hear that the company is looking at expanding even further, which could mean more jobs at the site. This is great news for Dingwall.”
Fergus Ewing, Scotland's cabinet secretary for rural economy and tourism and MSP for Inverness and Nairn, joined his colleague in congratulating the firm.
He said: “I am really pleased to see Loch Duart expanding its processing facility and creating 60 new jobs in the Dingwall area. This is an excellent example of the positive economic and social impact that salmon farming has in our remote and rural communities, showing how it contributes to our blue economy and the green recovery.
“Aquaculture is a vital sector for Scotland’s economy, creating many highly paid, highly skilled jobs across the country, many of which are in rural and remote communities. The Scottish Government is committed to supporting the sustainable growth Scottish aquaculture and its wider supply chain.”
Loch Duart currently produces 6000 tonnes of high-quality salmon each year from its farms in Sutherland and the Outer Hebrides and employs 160 people.