Marine Harvest: 1985-present
Currently Manager of the research site at Ardnish (Lochailort) – a position he has held since 2010 – David Corrigan started his career with Marine Harvest on 1 April 1985 as a temporary Farm Technician at the Loch Linnhe sea water site. He has just completed his thirty-year award.
‘In 1992 I was made Senior Technician at Linnhe’, explains Corrigan, ‘and I was Assistant Manager for a number of years before moving to the feed trials unit at Ardnish, which was opened in 2007. The unit is used for research by Marine Harvest’s fish feed factory in Norway – which was established last year – as well as by some of the major feed companies’. With over 500 visits to the site last year, Ardnish is the most popular site in the UK and, Corrigan claims, ‘it has one of the top five views from any office in Scotland.’
Corrigan’s day to day role at Ardnish is to oversee the running of the feed trials, which could be investigating such things as FCR, pigmentation, or omega-3 inclusion. ‘We were recently involved in a trial in conjunction with Stirling University’, says Corrigan, ‘in which 100 volunteers at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary ate salmon as part of their diet, to investigate its health benefits. Half had a history of coronary heart disease in the family, half did not. The results have not yet been published but we believe that it’s a good news story.’
Aside from his day job, Corrigan has worked tirelessly on behalf of Marine Harvest in raising money for local charities. ‘I do all of the Marine Harvest barbecues’, he explains. ‘Over the years, attendances have varied, from as little as 30-40 to as much as 1,000, which was the number
at the McLean Gathering at Duart Castle, Mull, in 2012. We also run a barbecue at the shinty festival every year, as well as the shinty/hurling match between Scotland and Ireland. Whatever the numbers, the money is always donated to local charities in Lochaber and Inverness, such as Raigmore Hospital and Belford Hospital. And the money we raise is always matched by Marine Harvest (Scotland) Ltd.’
The barbecues are always great occasions, says Corrigan, and each one brings with it a story or two. ‘There was one year when the shinty festival was in Fort William, just across from a large supermarket’, he recalls. ‘We’d just received a brand new barbecue, donated by one of the local businesses. We couldn’t get hold of any salmon fillets in time to try it out, so I walked over to the supermarket to get some salmon fillets. I asked the fishmonger where the salmon had come from, but he wasn’t sure, so he showed me the box – they came from my own farm at Ardnish, which I had to pay for from my own pocket.’
As well as all of his work for charity, Corrigan also pioneered the Marine Harvest schools educational programme in 2000. ‘To date, the programme has been rolled out to over 10,000 pupils across the Highlands’, he says. ‘The programme encourages pupils to try salmon, and we also get schools to visit the farm where they go out on the boats, watch slideshows and play games such as guess the weight of the salmon. I also visit 5th and 6th year pupils to promote aquaculture as a career that allows them to remain in their local community.
‘The last presentation I did was to the Glenuig Historical Society’, he continues. ‘The youngest attendee was about 60 and the oldest was 90. One of the audience members, Alan MacDonald, had worked at Lochailort in the ‘60s – apparently his nickname back then was Mack a Lackie.’
Corrigan believes in the importance of putting something back into the community. ‘I’m a people person’, he says, ‘which is why I was chairperson of the community council in Ardgour, sub officer in the fire brigade at Ardgour and chairperson of the Ardgour village hall. Marine Harvest has previously sponsored the village bonfire and firework display.’
Corrigan also spends time lobbying politicians and councillors. ‘We recently had seven of the Lochaber Ward Forum councillors – the first time they have visited as a group. The fact is that if we don’t fit into the communities where we have our operations it makes life much more difficult, so it’s worth the time and effort building relationships.’
Clockwise from right: Lochyside school visit. (Back row from left) David Biggin, Miss Smith, head teacher, Mrs Tait, P7, Jayne MacKay and David Corrigan; shinty team Fort William win Marine Harvest National League Div 1, 2014; Jayne MacKay and David...