A Caithness based processor and supplier of locally sourced shellfish is to expand its operations and break into new international markets.
Based on Scrabster Harbour's new Seafood Park, JPL Shellfish have been serving customers across the UK and Europe for nearly 20 years.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is supporting the company with £53,535 which will enable it to develop further and double their workforce by creating an additional five jobs.
JPL Shellfish sources a wide range of seafood from local boats landing in Scrabster fish market as well as direct from fishermen all over the far north. The company operates as a wholesaler and retailer although its main business is exporting live shellfish to France, Spain and Portugal on a weekly basis.
A recent increase in requests to export live shellfish to new international markets including Asia has resulted in an expansion of their current premises in order to meet the high demand.
To lead on promotion of the new global markets, a new international marketing manager, Roberta Gasterini, has been recruited by the company. She is working closely with HIE and attending a number of the agency's international programmes to help drive the business forward into new global markets.
As part of the expansion project, JPL Shellfish purchased new containers, holding tanks and pumps. The company has been granted permission from the Scrabster Harbour Trust to install a pump from the sea to new holding tanks for the live shellfish which will allow clean sea water to circulate.
John Logue owner of JPL Shellfish, said: "We have been receiving enquiries from all around the world. When the expansion is complete, we will be able to concentrate our efforts on these new markets which will in turn increase our turnover. We have been working closely with HIE to develop this expansion project over the last few months."
HIE account manager Laura Gunn said: "We are very pleased to support the expansion of this vibrant local business, especially as they are breaking into new, international markets and showing the world the quality of our shellfish. This is proving once again that the Highlands of Scotland really has some of the finest food and drink products in the world."
Meanwhile HIE is hosting a free international strategy forum in Inverness on the 21 June 9am-12pm for food and drink businesses in the Highland and Islands to get to grips with preparing and planning before embarking on international growth. Further information is available from Laura Robertson on 01463 244528.