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Gaydon hangar set to be salmon farm

15th Aug 2014

The first Scottish salmon farm to be built on LAND is planning to start production later this year in MACC’s iconic Gaydon hangar. This comes with the good news that up to 20 new jobs could be created in the coming months and could eventually lead to the creation of many more in Argyll and Bute in the future.

All previous fish farms in the UK have used sea cages, which have been criticized for sea lice and pollution problems in lochs. But Norwegian firm Niri have developed their own unique system which means the fish can be kept in secure land-based tanks, producing healthier and cheaper salmon.

Initially, the company hopes to produce 1,000 tonnes of salmon a year, with two tanks housed in the 57,000 Sq Ft hangar. Plans for a change of use of the hangar have just been approved by Argyll and Bute Council. A full planning application for an ambitious expansion plan is to follow.

Niri founder and CEO Arve Gravdal said: “We believe our methods are the best developed in the world. We’ve found solutions to all the problems small land-based farms have encountered. The system is very eco-friendly. Instead of being discharged into the sea, waste or sludge, is dried out and can be sold as fertilizer.

In the future, Niri plans to recycle the sludge, producing biogas and heat. The scheme has won praise from both politicians and conservationists. Mr Gravdal adds: “Our mission is to become a leading producer of high-quality seafood on land at a very competitive cost but we take our environmental responsibilities seriously. Nothing nasty gets pumped into the sea, there can be no escapes from our tanks and it is a disease-free environment for the salmon.

This development is a fantastic boost for MACC, having purchased the airbase in 2012 with a goal of attracting inward investment to the local area.

Jim Martin, chairman of MACC Development Ltd said:
“Our committee first met with Niri in December. They gave us a presentation that was first class and we were sold on the idea pretty quickly. We’ve signed a lease for the Gaydon hangar where the fish tanks will be built. The plan is so environmentally friendly. There are also great spin-offs, like producing fertilizer from the waste, so that will create more work. It’s all about the young folk for us. If we can create well paid, highly skilled jobs locally then when they go away to university they will come back and work and live here, instead of them moving away forever. We need to retain our intelligent young people. It’s the only way the area will thrive. Niri can be part of that.”

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