Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has approved a new 25-year lease at Arnish Point, Stornoway, paving the way for a new state-of-the-art salmon processing plant and the creation of up to 100 full time jobs. Lighthouse Caledonia is sub-letting plot 1.4 and plans to construct a new building at Arnish in a project worth around £5 million.
In December 2008, the Lighthouse Caledonia facility at Marybank, Stornoway was closed with the loss of 130 jobs but now, under different ownership and with a new board in place, the business believes Arnish will provide opportunities for future expansion and upgraded facilities. The business is Scottish-run and locally controlled, focusing on high-quality Outer Hebrides sourced seafood.
The new Arnish factory will be one of very few globally that can fillet salmon immediately after the fish have been harvested, guaranteeing premium quality and extending the shelf life.
The business has already submitted a formal planning application to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and a funding application to the European Fisheries Fund.
Archie Macdonald, area manager for HIE in Stornoway, said: “Highlands and Islands Enterprise has met with management of Lighthouse Caledonia over the past few weeks to discuss their plans for Arnish. We are delighted to support this project, granting a lease at Arnish Point for the new processing plant and securing a new era of investment by the business in the Outer Hebrides. Lighthouse has ambitious business development plans for their activities in the Outer Hebrides, and we look forward to further progress with their plans for Arnish.”
Jim Mullins, Chairman of Lighthouse Caledonia, said: “We have ambitious plans for the new factory. Ultimately, we hope to be able to process up to 15,000 tonnes of fish per year and employ up to 100 people, injecting a new sense of optimism and enterprise into the local economy. Signing the lease agreement with HIE is therefore an extremely important step forward and we are very grateful to the HIE team for their encouragement and enthusiasm for our plans.”