Marine Harvest plans whisky style visitor centre
MARINE Harvest is planning to build a visitor centre near its new feed plant on Skye, to offer an insight into salmon farming in Scotland.
Land has been acquired for the centre, just over the Skye Bridge on the approach to the feed factory site in Kyleakin, and it will provide information on the industry, similar to the visitor centres run by Scotland’s whisky distilleries.
The company has asked James Withers of Scotland Food and Drink for advice on how to set up a retail type attraction, and may expand it to encompass all the seafood of Skye, said Marine Harvest business manager Steve Bracken.
Last month, a public drop-in session organised by Marine Harvest to discuss the Kyleakin feed facility – which will create 55 jobs - attracted more than 100 people, while more than 50 turned up to a session in Kyle.
‘The purpose of the drop-in sessions was to engage with the local community and get feedback from them,’ said Bracken.
‘They were asked to fill in forms and we will look at these and incorporate their comments into our plans.’
The mayor of Bjugn, where Marine Harvest’s Norwegian feed plant is located, and Claes Jonermark, who runs the Bjugn plant, were there to explain how the plant might affect the area.
There were two main questions from local people: will the feed factory smell and will it make a noise.The answer to both, said Bracken, was no.
He said out of all those who turned up, only five to 10 were unhappy but he thinks their fears were allayed.
‘We tackled the issues of smell and noise and showed them how fish feed is made and there was a photo montage of how the new plant would look.’
Marine Harvest hopes to hold another drop-in session, possibly in the quarry where the plant will be built.
‘It’s early days and we have to wait for the environmental surveys and so on, but we’d like to get the planning go ahead by February 2017 and then start building in 2018,’ said Bracken.
Meanwhile, there has been some opposition to the company’s new £6 million Machrihanish hatchery, mainly from a small group of locals called Friends of the Gauldrons.
Bracken said the company would meet the public in another information session. ,