Showpiece Salmon Plant Takes Leap Forward

by Raymond Notarangelo

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Meridian logo for web newsThe company constructing a new state-of-the-art salmon processing plant in Rosyth has unveiled plans to expand the facility before it is even open – bringing enhanced prospects for more jobs to come to the town.

Meridian Salmon Group has been working closely with Fife Council on a plan to ‘infill’ the gap between the two sites at the vacant Lexmark building at Admiralty Business Park to create one large and self-contained development.

The proposal would provide an additional 2590 sq/m of space, bringing the total site up to more than 14,000 sq/m – and provide Meridian Salmon Group with a greatly enhanced operational footprint to develop its plans for the Rosyth site.

Once completed, the facility will become the biggest salmon processing plant in the UK, representing a major investment in the UK by Morpol, the company’s Polish owners.

It is expected that between 200-300 jobs will be created when the facility is fully operational in its first year – with the full intention that this number will grow as the business expands.

Managing Director Mark Warrington said the Rosyth project is attracting interest both locally and within the industry.

He said: “Once we acquired the site and began the refurbishment, it quickly became apparent that to fully utilise its potential we needed to create one entire unit that connects the two main sites. This will allow us to significantly develop our processing operations to ensure the site is working to its full potential.

“However, to enable us to progress on this basis, we had to seek the necessary planning consents. We are delighted with level of support we have had from Fife Council’s Planning and Development Control team to progress with the plans.

“However, the scale and scope of the Rosyth plant means we will need to take all the time required to get the facility properly constructed and fully equipped to the specifications we need, specifically to meet the high standards required for our intended customer base.

“That will mean we will aim to have the site partly operational towards the end of this year. We also hope to be in a position then to advise further on the recruitment process for the new facility.”

Work on transforming the site began last November and focused mainly on a phased programme of downtakings of the previous Lexmark interiors to allow the move to create the large-scale processing operations.

The building will be fitted out with unique, ultra-modern and highly efficient equipment, all custom made for Meridian Salmon Group who view the Rosyth plant as a clear endorsement of the importance of quality Scottish raw materials grown and processed in Scotland.

The plant will be capable of processing in excess of the 24,000 tonnes of salmon that the company currently produces each year. That will allow Meridian Salmon Group to become the UK’s only fully integrated salmon supplier in the UK – from hatching the young salmon right through to the consumer’s dinner plate.

In keeping with Meridian Salmon Group’s commitment to best practice in its entire farming and aquaculture operations and in protecting the natural environment and eco-systems in which they operate, the facility will operate to the highest quality and food safety standards. The company has also been involved in extensive consultations with Fife Council, Scottish Water and Scottish Environmental Protection Agency to ensure the site meets with all planning and regulatory controls.

Meridian Salmon Group is one of the top five salmon farming companies in Scotland, employing 350 people particularly in small communities in Shetland, Orkney and the West Coast. It operates at 61 sea sites and 19 freshwater sites across Scotland and Cumbria.

Meridian Salmon Group is unique in that it operates a combined integration processes involving salmon breeding, hatchery, farming and processing, which gives the company total control over every stage of the production cycle, resulting in fish of consistently high quality.

Meridian Salmon Group’s investment and planned expansion in production is particularly crucial in Scotland, where it helps support an industry that directly employs 2124 people – and thousands more in the salmon supply chain.

In particular, hundreds of jobs and fragile rural, island economies are dependent on the salmon farming industry, which is now Scotland’s biggest food exporter and worth £1.4bn to the Scottish economy in the last four years.

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Raymond Notarangelo

Raymond Notarangelo, co-founded Scottish PR agency, Holyrood Partnership after spotting a gap for colourful and innovative public relations in Edinburgh. He now leads a team providing media relations, social media, video, photography, brand newsrooms, crisis communication and media relations.

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