[Photographs are available free to accompany this story at http://www.scottishviewpoint.info/scotwest]
A Highland seafood company which transports west coast live shellfish worldwide isn't letting the winter weather stop it from cooking up new business.
Scot West Seafoods has been selling live langoustines, lobsters, shrimps and other species of shellfish from the seas around the Isle of Skye, Western Isles and the west coast of Scotland to a predominantly Spanish market since 2003. With the support of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) it has been looking at how processing its own products will allow it to target high end retail and restaurant markets.
The business, which employs around 30 staff, is managed by Director Donnie Grant and financial manager Debbie Billington. It has bases in Kyle, Harris and the Uists.
“We usually transport from Scotland to a number of international airports. The weather has meant we have had to be flexible about the route but we are delighted we have continued to supply our customers, including taking detours to available airports south of the border. Scottish seafood is very popular and regardless of the challenges winter is throwing at the UK this is an exciting time for us as we look at developing new products,” said Debbie.
She added: “Research indicated there were significant opportunities for Scot West if we process our own fish to create high quality cooked products. Our initial trial lines have had extremely positive feedback and we plan to go into regular production in the next week.”
Fergus Watson, of HIE, commented: “Highlands and Islands Enterprise has been working closely with the business to look at opportunities for it to grow. As well as the huge potential around the new cooked products, we are also looking to expand our markets for Scot West's live products in Russia, Dubai and the USA.
“The team has looked innovatively at how to get the best benefits for the business, and for the network of west coast fishermen who supply them. They have been enthusiastic about learning new manufacturing skills, building their experience, and developing an ambitious marketing strategy.”