Fish processing plant could boost north Skye economy with 40 jobs

Plans to create between 30 and 40 full-time jobs in Staffin in north Skye were discussed at a meeting in Portree last week.

Following extensive consultation between Skye Sea Harvest Ltd and the Staffin Community Trust, a meeting was held in the local primary school last month to present  proposals for an innovative project which it is claimed could bring wide-ranging economic benefit to the area.

In attendance were members of Staffin Community Council and  Staffin Slipway Development Group as well as representatives of Garafad township.

Skye Sea Harvest Ltd is a new Highland-based business whose directors Robert Gray and Alex MacInnes, from Inverness and North Uist respectively, have a combined experience of almost 50 years in the seafood sector.  The duo, plus financial adviser Alister Mackinnon — who is a member of Highland Council for Dingwall and Seaforth — met with representatives of Highlands and Islands Enterprise in Portree last Friday.

Mr MacInnes said: “The project concept and what can be delivered in the next three years has been well received and supported within the Staffin community which has given Alister, Robert and I great confidence for the journey ahead. We are under no illusions that there is a huge amount of work to be undertaken in ensuring that this project becomes a key part of not only the Staffin community but that we can hopefully link other communities and businesses together that will help retain a vital way of life and retain young people within our communities for a long time to come by offering them good employment opportunities.”

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Alex MacInnes, Robert Gray and Alister MacKinnon are driving the plans

Skye Sea Harvest Ltd, working with the Staffin Trust and supported by the European Fisheries Fund, say they will move forward with extensive consultation proposing to build a state-of-the-art seafood processing facility that will not only encompass servicing the local fish farms, wild fishing and shellfish industry but will also enable the community to achieve further development of the slipway and surrounding area. The upgrade of the Staffin slipway will enable both commercial and leisure vessels to berth at all tides and access improved services delivered through the collaborative project.

The company say the development would initially create in the region of 30-40 full-time jobs directly, but they anticipate that more opportunities would be generated within the wider community by the support services they believe will transpire.

The developers plan to hold an open community consultation meeting before the end of the year and hope to  have the facility up and running within two to three years.