A NEW oyster farm on Barra has received almost £ 500,000 support from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to help expand the business.
Traigh Mhor Oysters is a joint venture between family- owned food group AP Jess and Isle of Barra Oysters Limited.
HIE has awarded the business £490,000 to help buy new equipment and add to its six staff. The farm’s six million oyster capacity could also be increased by an extra four million.
A spokesman for HIE said AP Jess had acquired a 70 per cent stake in the venture. The three people behind Isle of Barra Oysters, brothers Gerard and Martin MacDonald and Donald Macleod, each retain a 10 per cent stake in the new business.
The company now employs six full-time members of staff, compared with three on a part-time basis when the firm was founded in 2009.
Traigh Mhor Oysters is investing in stock and new equipment as it gears up to meet demand from Scotland and elsewhere in the UK.
HIE highlighted plans by the company, as oyster production grew, to explore international markets such as France, Spain and countries in the Far East. The agency noted that demand for live shellfish was growing in these overseas markets.