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Expansion plans for Caithness seafood company

24 March 2015

A new crab processing factory is to be built at one of the premier shellfish landing ports in the UK.

Scrabster Seafoods Ltd, based at Scrabster Harbour in the far north of Scotland, primarily exports white fish landed at the harbour to mainland Europe and the Far East. The company has identified an opportunity to diversify and take advantage of the 2,000 tonnes of crab landed by fishermen at the harbour every year.

Scrabster Seafoods is now looking at investing in new plant and equipment to begin crab processing on site, supported by £119,832 from economic development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The project will create around 25 jobs at Scrabster over the next three years.

Scrabster Seafoods is a family-owned business established in 1968 and has grown steadily to around 25 staff. The company is an importer, vessel sales agent, processor and exporter of white fish and other seafood, handling around 4,000 tonnes annually. It has an operation in the Faroe Islands and a sales office in France.

The current trade in brown crab takes the catch directly from the boats to lorries before being transported direct to the customer, mainly in European markets such as Spain and Portugal. The new project will allow the company to add value to the product before it is exported, creating jobs and supporting the local economy.

William Calder Jnr from Scrabster Seafoods, commented: “We are grateful to HIE for their ongoing support. This new project will be a great benefit for the local fisherman and the community in terms of employment going forward. It will allow fishermen to have greater choice in who they sell their catch to and a more convenient and flexible market, which can only be a good thing for them. Every other major shellfish port has a processing presence and given the healthy volumes of shellfish landed in Scrabster and the surrounding harbours in the county we felt it was an ideal route for our company to take.  The north of Scotland has some of the finest seafood on offer in the world and we aim to develop a shellfish product and create a brand of the finest cooked shellfish to enhance the produce we are already offering and exporting globally.”

Roy Kirk, area manager at HIE, said: “Scrabster Seafoods has built up a well-deserved reputation for supplying markets across the world with quality fish and seafood from our northern seas. This diversification into crab processing should open up new markets to the company and ensure the business continues to grow for many more years to come. We are delighted to be supporting the company towards purchasing new equipment and marketing support.”

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