Peterhead firm given green light for fish processing factory expansion
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Northbay Pelagic has been given the green light to expand its Peterhead fish processing site that will help the firm hit new national fishing targets.
The move will see an extension added to the pelagic producer’s cold store building on Kirk Square.
Operation manager Scott McKenzie said the additional space was needed to meet the Scottish Government’s new landings obligation.
Speaking at the Buchan area committee, Mr McKenzie explained: “Scottish pelagic fleets this current year must land 30% of their catch in Scotland.
“Next year it will increase to 45 per cent and the year after it will be up to 55 per cent.
“At the moment there are four Scottish pelagic factories that can accept that fish, not all of us together have the capacity so we need to expand.”
He also stressed that the move would not increase the number of lorries accessing the site, simply just add more storage space.
Northbay Pelagic is one of the largest pelagic fish processors in the country.
It currently processes around 25,000 tonnes of fish per year including mackerel and herring.
But this new investment will see the firm’s capability increase by an extra 10,000 tonnes.
Fish is landed by boat and pumped directly to the Peterhead factory’s processing lines.
Under this new proposal, the fish transfer pipe will be re-routed to the south of the building.
The new cold store will be similar to the one already on the site to ensure there is a “seamless continuation” of the building.
An additional loading bay for lorries will be created too, but it will only be used when the main entrance is closed for maintenance.
And as the business expands, so will its workforce.
Northbay Pelagic estimates that up to six new members of staff will be recruited to work in the Blue Toon factory, joining the firm’s 50 permanent employees.
The application was considered by Buchan councillors this week.
Central Buchan member Geoff Crowson asked for more details on the extra loading bay and how lorries would access it as residents had raised some concerns about traffic.
But Mr McKenzie informed him that the company would coordinate lorries so the large vehicles would not be left waiting on the streets, potentially disturbing neighbours.
He went on to say that the number of trucks expected to visit the site would “remain the same” despite the increase in fish.
Fellow councillor Hannah Powell backed the proposal.
She stated: “The fishing industry is sustainable and thriving in Peterhead and I think it is good for the area economically.”
The application went on to be unanimously approved by the committee.
The north-east site is famously known as being the former Cross & Blackwell factory that produced canned food items including soups.
However the tall silos that were used to store ingredients such as carrots and peas will be removed from the site to accommodate the extension.
Northbay Pelagic took over the site in 1998 and has become one of Peterhead’s major employers.
But tragedy hit the fishing firm back in January 2015 as a massive blaze, caused by an electrical fault, tore through the building.
The fire raged on for more than 10 hours as dozens of firefighters from across Aberdeenshire battled the flames.