£80m fish feed plant planned for Kyleakin on Skye
Fish farming company Marine Harvest has announced that Kyleakin on the Isle of Skye is its preferred location for an £80m fish feed factory.
The company said the development on the site of an old quarry would create 55 full-time permanent jobs.
The plant will produce food for the firm's Scottish fish farms as well as those in Norway, Ireland and the Faroe Islands.
Marine Harvest hopes the new plant will be up and running by 2018.
The company made the announcement after consideration of a number of sites on the west coast.
The Kyleakin site is known as Altanavaig (Allt Anabhaig) quarry.
Ben Hadfield, managing director of Marine Harvest Scotland said: "We are delighted to have found a site which sits at the heart of our operations - one that is already an industrial site but which has not been fully utilised for some time.
"We would like to have the chance to bring it back to life and provide well-paid jobs, as well as taking the opportunity to produce our feed in the most sustainable way.
"This is a large investment in Scotland and the development of a feed plant here is part of our overall drive to become a more efficient and sustainable business."
He added: "We hope this will be a major boost for the local economy and we are keen to start discussions with the local community and hear their views about our proposals."
Marine Harvest hopes to replicate the success of a similar plant in Norway which has provided a welcome boost to the local economy by providing jobs directly, as well as generating employment for local contractors and suppliers.
Construction of the plant will take between a year and 18 months.
About four acres of the site will be used to accommodate the buildings which will include the processing plant itself, as well as raw material storage silos, product storage and packaging, a loading area and car parking. The existing pier will need to be extended.
Mr Hadfield said: "The site more than meets our criteria which included a central location for our farms, access to an existing jetty or pier, or the potential to build one, good road transport links and the availability of power and water supplies at a reasonable cost.
"This is a great opportunity for Kyleakin and the local economy and we hope to have the chance to discuss our plans with the local community as soon as possible."
Public exhibitions are to be held in Kyleakin Village Hall on Monday 18 April and Kyle Free Church of Scotland Hall on Tuesday 19 April. Both exhibitions will be open from 11:00 until 20:00.
The exhibitions will explain the work the company plans to undertake to prepare its planning application.
Staff from Marine Harvest will be available to answer questions and explain what studies need to be carried out as part of the planning process. They are also keen to gather information from local people about the site and hear about any issues they may have.