Work on a pioneering but controversial fish feed plant is now under way, in an economic boost for the north.
Marine Harvest is building the facility at the Allt Anavig quarry at Kyleakin on Skye.
A total of 55 full-time jobs will be created later this year as a result of the development, bringing much needed jobs to the island.
The company has confirmed that the plant is due to be completed by next Autumn.
But the cost of the project has already soared from £80million when it announced the preferred site for the plant last year to £93million.
Ian Blackford, SNP Westminster leader and MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, said the new jobs will also bring benefits to other businesses on Skye.
He added: “The new plant in Kyleakin shows the company’s faith in and commitment to the local community, but also is a very welcome economic boost to the area.
“The new jobs offer great opportunities for long-term employment with the benefits to other local businesses which come with increasing prosperity.”
When the plans were first unveiled, some residents were concerned over the visual impact of the new plant as it will include buildings 130 feet high with a chimney stack more than 195 feet tall.
But the majority of local councillors felt that new jobs and a boost to the island’s economy took precedence over other concerns.
The multimillion pound project is being built by Robertson Construction and local community representatives were invited to come along to the former quarry to see for themselves how work is progressing so far.
Dani Stewart and Craig Glenwright of Kyleakin Community Council were joined by Brian Easter of Kyle Community Council on a tour of the site.
Ben Hadfield, Chief Operating Officer Feed and Managing Director of Marine Harvest Scotland, said: “We were delighted to welcome members of the local community councils to the site to mark the start of construction. Work is progressing well and we will be starting to recruit the new workforce of 55 full-time positions later this year.”
David Cairns, Managing Director, Robertson Central, added: “This is a significant project for the company and will see us create a state-of-the-art fish feed facility. Once complete, the plant will have a real positive impact on both the local and wider economy and we are thrilled to be part of such an exciting project.”
Marine Harvest decided that the quarry at Allt Anavig was ideal for the new plant because of its close proximity to the sea, the fact that there was an existing pier which could be extended and because Skye Is a central location to its other sites in Scotland, allowing fish feed to be efficiently delivered.
The project follows the successful development of a similar facility in Norway and, once up and running, the Skye plant will also export feed to the company’s operations in Ireland, Norway and the Faroe Islands.
Marine Harvest (Scotland) Ltd is the largest salmon farming company in the country with four hatcheries, five freshwater loch sites and 42 sea farms, situated in the Western Isles, Skye, Argyll, Wester Ross and Lochaber.
Live fish are harvested at Mallaig and processed at the Blar Mhor processing plant in Fort William. The company employs more than 640 people at these sites.