Min­is­ter’s visit marks High­land jobs boost

Fish Farmer - - United Kingdom News -

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

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