Machrihanish marine centre in £322,000 expansion plan
A marine research centre in Argyll is to undergo a major expansion aimed at increasing jobs and turnover.
The Marine Environmental Research Laboratory (Merl) at Machrihanish will spend £322,819 on more research tanks.
The Stirling University-run facility provides research services and facilities to industry and academics working within the aquaculture sector.
Economic development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is backing the expansion with a grant of £90,192.
The laboratory's main focus is around new product development in veterinary medicine, vaccines and functional feeds for the salmon farming industry.
It has more than 200 holding tanks, purpose-built for research with Atlantic salmon and marine species.
The facility has long-term service agreements with a number of multinational animal health organisations to develop a range of safe and environmentally acceptable products for sea lice control.
Dr Bill Roy, from Merl, said: "We work closely with the aquaculture industry to tackle some of the important issues which affect its productivity and public reputation.
"The industry plays a major role in the economy of the Highlands and Islands and investment in research infrastructure is vital to maintain and develop this sector for the wider public benefit."
Morag Goodfellow, of HIE, added: "Merl has an impressive client list including feed companies and multinational fish farming organisations.
"The research undertaken at the centre is important in safeguarding the longevity of the aquaculture industry - which is also a significant employer across the Highlands and Islands.
"This project is a key element in increasing the capacity of the centre and building on what is already considered a high quality research and development institution."