Minister’s visit marks Highland jobs boost
FERGUS Ewing, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, has reaffirmed his commitment to growing the aquaculture industry during a visit to Gael Force Group in Inverness last month.
The minister praised the Highland firm for creating of around 20 new jobs, following the announcement earlier this month that it had secured a deal to build barges for Marine Harvest.
Gael Force will build and supply Marine Harvest with a series of SeaMate 400T concrete feed barges complete with state-of-the-art SeaFeed Offshore Feeding System.
Gael Force Group owner and managing director Stewart Graham gave the minister a tour of the company’s engineering facility which is set to double in capacity to accommodate its increased programme of barge builds.
The company expects that the initial order for Marine Harvest will add a further 20 to the 43 staff who have already joined the company this year. At least another 12 jobs will also be created in the group’s own supply chain and the wider rural Highland economy.
Speaking during the visit on August 25, Ewing said: ‘I am delighted Gael Force has secured this major order from Marine Harvest. This is testament to the quality of their work and strength of their team.
‘It is also a further demonstration of the value of the aquaculture sector to Scotland in terms of the overall economy and jobs created.
‘I work closely with the aquaculture Industry Leadership Group, and we are committed to further develop and grow the supply chain in the sector.’
Stewart Graham said: ‘We are delighted to welcome the Cabinet Secretary to Gael Force and I am pleased he has been able to see at first-hand the quality of output from our team.
‘His continued support of the strategic plan for aquaculture growth to 2030, and of the Scottish aquaculture industry as a whole, has been unwavering and for that he should be commended.
‘As a direct consequence of the success of Scottish salmon we have created many new jobs this year and will continue to recruit on the back of this order.
‘We are grateful to Marine Harvest for placing their order and their trust in Gael Force.
‘There are huge positive benefits to the wider rural economy and its communities and this order is a great example of that positive impact on the Highland economy.’
Above: Fergus Ewing (right) with Gael Force’s Stewart Graham