fish swimming

Loch Duart

Loch Duart have been rearing salmon in north west Scotland since 1999 and employs 115 employees across Sutherland and the Outer Hebrides.

two workers hauling nets on a fish farm

Improving farming and industry practices

The company practice low impact and low density fish farming, creating some of the world’s best farm-raised salmon. They are dedicated to continually improving farming and industry practices through innovation and encouraging an entrepreneurial approach.

As one of the area’s largest employers, Loch Duart’s team set themselves the challenge of aligning their business needs and ambitions with those of the local community, to ensure as the firm grows the benefits are enjoyed by everyone.

For the business to flourish, Managing Director Alban Denton believes involving the community and encouraging them to see the overall worth of the business is vital.

He said: “Loch Duart, like many rural businesses, wouldn’t survive without our community and we as business owners shouldn’t underestimate how much we can contribute to the local economy and community. It’s mutually beneficial and makes sound business sense.”

Loch Duart has adopted a “locals-first” buying policy which sees them source goods and services in the village of Scourie where they are based first, before looking elsewhere in Sutherland and then further afield.

Alban said: “Our policy creates an emotional engagement between us and our community with both parties working together and investing in each other’s future.”

To overcome the challenge of retaining staff, employee wellbeing is at the heart of Loch Duart’s ethos. Through upskilling staff and encouraging a pioneering approach to improve the farming of salmon, they are able to attract and retain quality employees.  

The company also supports and enables its 115 employees to be part of community groups. Some volunteer as first responders with the RNLI, others with the local mountain rescue team.

Having access to funding and training has allowed us to continue to develop and upskill our staff.
Alban Denton, Managing Director, Loch Duart

Our Support

Like any business, Loch Duart over its 20-year history has had its ups and downs and is proud to be in a position where its able to invest in its community.

Alban credits Keith Muir, head of business growth at HIE, and the Entrepreneurship programme as integral parts of the company’s journey.

Alban said: “Keith is a great guy and has looked after us well. He has been a great patron of the business and is always willing to share his wisdom with you.”

Through the Entrepreneurship programme Loch Duart had access to training courses, which have imparted time management and leadership skills to its employees, not only benefiting the company but the community projects that the employees are involved in.

Recently, Matthew Hurst, head of international sales at Loch Duart, was given the opportunity by the Entrepreneurship programme at HIE to travel to Boston. There he was able to take part in the globally renowned MIT Entrepreneurship Development Programme, which blends cutting edge academic learning with practical teamwork exercises, live investment pitching, best practice company visits and international networking.

“Giving back to our community has paid dividends and I would encourage others to look to play a bigger role in their community.

“Having access to funding and training has allowed us to continue to develop and upskill our staff. I believe that everyone should look to engage with organisations such as HIE to take advantage of the wide variety of support that they offer.

Give it a go, you never know what’s going to happen.”

Woman feeding fish on fish farm

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