SSF Group 13.11.18

State of the art new £48m freshwater salmon hatchery to create high-value jobs from 2019

Salmon farming company Scottish Sea Farms (SSF) is to open a new £48 million Freshwater Hatchery at Barcaldine near Oban, with the aim of further improving how fish are farmed in Scotland.

The new facility – set to open in 2019 – will be a centre of excellence in its sector, creating at least 10 new high-value jobs in rural Scotland as well as enabling company growth leading to further job creation in future.

The onshore hatchery will supply smolts – young salmon – to the SSF’s 40 farms across Scotland’s west coast, Orkney and Shetland. Through industry-leading research and development (R&D) work carried out there, it will also help the company tackle a range of challenges affecting the fish farming sector today, by enhancing fish health and welfare, improving its environmental credentials, ensuring a more secure and reliable supply of salmon, and increasing harvest volumes to better meet growing global demand.

In order to assist with this pioneering work, and help the facility become a centre of excellence in its sector, SSF has received £1.28 million in R&D support from Scottish Enterprise. In addition to supporting the work at Barcaldine the funds will help the company develop new, innovative processes and technologies across all its sites – such as data capture and analysis to drive efficiencies, developing more humane processes, recycling a greater proportion of by-products and harvesting wind and wave energy to reduce reliance on fuel.

The investment was welcomed by Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy Kate Forbes MSP, who visited the site of the new facility today. She said: “Scotland has a thriving food and drink sector with salmon exports alone growing by 35 per cent during 2017, recognising the global reputation for our quality produce. 

“Ensuring that the sector grows in a sustainable way remains a priority for us. It is great to see an ambitious and respected company like Scottish Sea Farms investing in innovation to improve environmental control, health issues and production efficiencies. I’d like to congratulate the company on raising the bar, and wish them every success on their sustainable growth journey.”

Kirsteen Binnie, who has led Scottish Enterprise’s engagement with SSF since 2010, added: “Scottish Sea Farms is already a national success story, employing more than 430 people across the country. Its hunger to farm evermore responsibly is driving forward this latest project – the first of its kind in the sector – which will not only create a state-of-the-art new hatchery in Barcaldine and create new jobs in Scotland, but also reinforces our strong, innovative and forward-thinking food and drink sector.

“We have worked intensively with the company since 2010, helping it deliver innovation, business improvements and international activity. During this time, we’ve seen it grow to become the second largest salmon producer in the UK. With this latest support, SSF can continue to go from strength to strength and deliver its future ambition.”

Scottish Sea Farms Managing Director, Jim Gallagher, said: “Researching and developing new approaches and technologies is key to ensuring that we continue raising the healthiest fish in the most responsible but also the most environmentally sustainable way, and this latest £48m investment aims to advance our work in both areas.

“The £1.28m grant from Scottish Enterprise means that we will be able to do more of this planned R&D even sooner, accelerating both the innovation and the anticipated benefits for fish health and welfare and for the environment.”

Working closely with Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Sea Farms to deliver this project, Highlands and Islands Enterprise area manager for Argyll and the Islands, Jennifer Nicoll said: “Fish farming is already a key employer in the region, and the location of this new freshwater hatchery at Barcaldine is really good news for Oban and Argyll. 

“It brings not only high-quality employment, benefitting from a world-class marine business and research cluster literally just down the road at the European Marine Science Park, but in addition its research will help drive business innovation and improve salmon production, all of which contributes to supporting our rural and coastal economy.”



Contact Information

Notes to editors

Contact information

Jennifer Stevenson

Scottish Enterprise

0141 468 5779

07919 227 836


About Scottish Sea Farms

Scottish Sea Farms is one of the country’s largest producers of farmed salmon, now the UK’s most valuable food and drink export, second only to whisky. Norwegian-owned, it supports over 430 Scottish jobs directly, many of them in remote and rural communities; has an annual salary bill of £17.2m; and paid £11.7m in corporation tax (at a rate of 19%) in 2017 alone. In the same year, it also spent over £100m with Scottish suppliers thanks to its ‘buy local’ policy.

Committed to farming as responsibly and sustainably as it can, it was recently awarded the SEPA Award for Excellence in Environmental Sustainability in recognition of its work to produce farm-reared ‘cleaner fish’; work undertaken in collaboration with Marine Harvest Scotland, the University of Stirling and the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre. 


About Scottish Enterprise

Scottish Enterprise is Scotland’s main economic development agency and aims to deliver significant, lasting effect on the Scottish economy. Its role is to help identify and exploit the best opportunities for economic growth. It supports ambitious Scottish companies to compete within the global marketplace and help build Scotland’s globally competitive sectors. It also works with a range of partners in the public and private sectors to attract investment to Scotland and to help create a world-class business environment.

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About Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is an economic and community development agency implementing Scotland's Economic Strategy across a region which covers more than half the country. With around 300 staff, HIE supports hundreds of client businesses and social enterprises; strengthens communities, particularly in fragile areas; develops growth sectors, and invests in infrastructure to create a more competitive and low carbon region. You can visit HIE’s website at or follow it on social media: Twitter : Facebook : Linkedin : Youtube