Loch Duart Ltd is spending almost £1 million on a custom built work boat to bring its award winning salmon across the deep waters of the Minch to Sutherland.
The business, which when it was founded in 1999 took over some of the oldest farming sites in Scotland, expanded into the Uists three years ago.
The investment in its largest vessel to date has been supported by HIE. Its launch later this year will offer the business more freedom to transport its harvested fish under the very strict standards it adheres to.
Loch Duart is a company with a clear vision; to produce the best tasting salmon using the highest welfare and environmental methods. Its unique provenance has opened specialist markets around the world and its salmon is served by name on menus all over the world and is sought out by famous chefs including Gordon Ramsay and Rick Stein.
Nick Joy, Managing Director at Loch Duart, commented: "Understanding our product is key to our success. We have benefited from generations of expertise at Loch Duart to create a quality product. We have clearly defined the niche in the market and our brand is identifiable internationally, particularly across the UK, France, and the USA."
Loch Duart's sustainable working philosophy extends to investing in and supporting Scottish craftmanship and jobs. Girvan based family boat builders A Noble and Sons, who have been in business since 1946, are building the £950,000 twin-screw bow-loading vessel which will be capable of crossing the Minch in Force 7 weather conditions.
HIE's Keith Muir has worked along side Loch Duart over the years as it has expanded its production capability, grown its workforce, and developed its distinctive brand.
He said: "This new purpose-built vessel will allow Loch Duart to have total control over the timing of their harvest. Including this award, HIE has given support of almost £1 million over the past few years to accelerate the business' expansion into the Uists. Loch Duart is a well-established, profitable producer and a key employer in a fragile area of the Highlands and Islands."
The remote location is seen as an opportunity by the business. Nick commented:
"Rural locations are often the areas where our food is produced and if we lose those areas we lose that capability. We have become fragile area experts, exploring the challenges but benefiting from the area's resources. What we must remember is that Scotland's rural areas offer huge opportunities."