Fish processor Northbay Pelagic is to expand its Peterhead plant – ahead of an expected boom caused by a change in Scottish fishing rules.
The processing firm wants to add storage in an extension to its Kirk Square base, in a move that will create new jobs.
Nearly a third of the Scottish fleet’s pelagic catch must be landed in Scotland just now.
But the Scottish Government’s new landing obligations will drive that share up in the coming years.
Northbay Pelagic’s operations manager Scott McKenzie said the additional space would be needed as Scottish landing target rise to 45% of the catch next year, and 55% the year after.
Making his case for permission to build the extension, he said: “At the moment there are four Scottish pelagic factories that can accept that fish, not all of us together have the capacity so we need to expand.”
Expansion to bring new jobs to Peterhead
Northbay Pelagic is one of the largest pelagic fish processors in the country.
It currently processes around 25,000 tonnes of fish a year, including mackerel and herring.
But this new investment would increase output by an extra 10,000 tonnes.
Fish is landed by boat and pumped directly to the Peterhead factory’s processing lines.
Proposal to help Peterhead’s ‘thriving’ fishing industry
An additional lorry loading bay will be carved out too, for use when the main entrance is closed for maintenance.
But factory boss McKenzie also stressed the number of trucks expected to visit would “remain the same” despite the increase in fish storage.
As the proposals were unanimously backed, Councillor Hannah Powell said: “The fishing industry is sustainable and thriving in Peterhead and I think it is good for the area economically.”
Northbay Pelagic has promised as many as six new jobs at the Peterhead factory, joining its 50 permanent employees.
Positive future for troubled Northbay Pelagic site
The firm’s premises are perhaps better known as the former Cross & Blackwell factory that produced canned food items in Peterhead.
However, the tall silos that were used to store ingredients will be removed to accommodate the extension.
Northbay Pelagic took over the site in 1998 and has become one of Peterhead’s major employers.
Tragedy hit in January 2015 as a massive blaze tore through the factory.