Scottish Sea Farms completes £2.5 million refit, doubles processing capacity

Editorial Staff

The facility has further space available and has room to expand up to 70,000 tons annually.

SalMar-backed salmon producer Scottish Sea Farms has announced the completion of a £2.5 million refit at its Lerwick facility in Shetland, effectively doubling its processing capacity from 25,000 tonnes to 50,000 tonnes annually.

This expansion is in anticipation of higher volume production in the region.

The Lerwick facility was acquired as part of Scottish Sea Farms’ purchase of Grieg Seafood Shetland in December 2021, which included 16 active farms and a freshwater hatchery.

Following the acquisition, all fish processing activities in the region were consolidated at the company’s Scalloway base, which serves as the central hub for fish from Shetland and Orkney, to facilitate the major refit at Lerwick.

Donald Buchanan, Head of Processing Operations, explained that the goal was to centralize processing into one efficient center, creating a ‘facility of the future’ capable of handling all fish from the expanded Northern Isles estate.

Total overhaul

The refit involved a complete overhaul of the existing processing facility, including new floors, drains, and internal fabrication. The layout was reconfigured to create dedicated areas for harvesting, gutting, and packing, equipped with a combination of existing and new machinery.

A key feature of the new harvesting area is an in-water stunner supplied by Ace Aquatec, ensuring humane harvesting by rendering fish unconscious while still in water. A smaller stunner is also available for bycatch or cleaner fish. The gutting area now houses six high-speed BAADER machines, with a dedicated handline for manually gutting fish outside the 2kg-7kg range.

The facility’s packing area has been upgraded with robotic palletization to minimize handling, and new temperature-controlled containers in the gutting area allow for better management of fish flow into packing.

200 tons per day capacity

The Lerwick facility, now fully operational and capable of handling 200 tons per day, has achieved all necessary audit, environmental, and retail standards, including RSPCA Assured, Global GAP, Label Rouge, M&S, and Waitrose.

Scottish Sea Farms Head of Technical, Andy Gourlay, emphasized the collaborative effort required to ensure compliance with various certifications and standards.

“Ensuring the facility complies with our many different certifications and standards has required a colossal amount of work from each of the teams involved: processing, engineering, IT and technical,” said Gourlay.

Looking ahead, Lerwick has the potential for further expansion, with 40% of floor space still available, allowing for a potential increase in processing capacity to 70,000 tons annually.


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