Cairn­dow caviar farm gets coun­cil go-ahead

Argyllshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

A PLAN to build Scot­land’s first caviar farm at Cairn­dow has been unan­i­mously ap­proved by Ar­gyll and Bute coun­cil­lors.

The Fynest Caviar Com­pany will now start pro­duc­ing Os­te­ria caviar from Rus­sian and Siberian stur­geon in three build­ings on the site of Ard­kin­glas sawmill at the head of Loch Fyne.

The Ed­in­burgh-based com­pany hopes to have Scot­tish caviar on the mar­ket by Christ­mas 2020, ini­tially pro­duc­ing 1.5 tonnes of caviar a year, which can sell for more than £1,000 per kilo, and grow­ing up to three tonnes an­nu­ally.

The £4m project aims to turnover £3.64m over six years and to hire seven full-time em­ploy­ees, in­clud­ing a gen­eral man­ager and tech­ni­cal staff.

Ac­coun­tant Fraser Niven, one of the com­pany’s three di­rec­tors, said: ‘We are de­lighted the coun­cil recog­nised the sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fits to the area that the com­pany’s plans rep­re­sent.

‘Not only will it bring jobs, but the board’s de­ter­mi­na­tion is that the com­pany’s pro­duce will be syn­ony­mous with qual­ity and rich­ness re­flect­ing the area’s in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion.’

Cur­rently the UK mar­ket con­sumes 19 tonnes of caviar a year, some of which is pro­duced by the UK’s only ex­ist­ing caviar farm in Devon.

Direc­tor Stephen O’Brien added: ‘The ob­ject is to be­come a lead­ing, high qual­ity and prof­itable niche pro­ducer of caviar and stur­geon meat based on an eth­i­cal, sus­tain­able and en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly oper­a­tion in Scot­land.’

Pe­ti­tion

The ap­pli­ca­tion re­ceived a 5,000 sig­na­ture pe­ti­tion from an­i­mal rights group PETA, with names from all over the world.

PETA direc­tor Elisa Allen said it was ‘ap­palling’ coun­cil­lors ‘re­fused to lis­ten to the calls of thou­sands of lo­cals who op­posed the plan’.

‘In the wild, stur­geons live in open rivers and mi­grate vast dis­tances, but on com­mer­cial fish farms, such as this one, they’re con­fined to se­verely crowded tanks, where they have no op­tion but to spend their lives swim­ming in end­less cir­cles and are highly sus­cep­ti­ble to stress and ag­gres­sion,’ she added.

‘At the end of their mis­er­able lives, they'll be cut open so their eggs can be taken for a so-called ‘del­i­cacy’ which most peo­ple have no ap­petite for.’

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