Work has begun on a major new £30m mackerel and herring processing facility and cold-store upgrade for Denholm Seafoods in Peterhead, reports Paul Scott.

The investment, one of the largest ever undertaken by a wild-caught fish processing company in Scotland, will deliver a state-of-the-art fish handling and storage system, which aims to benefit the Scottish pelagic fleet and provide opportunities to develop new markets.

Denholm Seafoods says that the upgrade will result in increased efficiencies, enhanced product quality and a lower carbon footprint, and enable the firm to increase its daily freezing capacity and boost cold storage capacity to 19,000t.

The investment includes the construction of a new 12,000m2 cold store adjacent to the current Denholm Seafoods processing site at Peterhead harbour, which will be completed by late summer 2023.

Richard Duthie, managing director of Denholm Seafoods, said: “We are tremendously excited by this new investment, which will deliver benefits to Scotland’s important pelagic sector, and provide us with a platform for new growth.

“With soaring energy costs and the need to increase efficiency, product quality and automation, this project will ensure we remain competitive in a global marketplace and enable us to develop markets in key areas such as the Far East.

“It will, for example, enable us to explore new opportunities in value-added processing by providing increased flexibility in meeting customer requirements.”

Denholm Seafoods says its new processing facility will deliver a ‘state- of-the-art fish handling and storage system’. Pictured from left: Reynir Vir Jonsson, Skaginn 3X, Allan Stephen, Denholm, Ragnar A Gudmundsson, Skaginn 3X, Richard Duthie, Denholm, Jonmunder Valur Ingolfsson, Skaginn 3X, and Kevin O’Brien and Wayne Summers of Denholm.

The new facility has been designed with future expansion in mind, with the potential to significantly increase freezing and storage capacity. In tandem with the new cold store, the existing Denholm Seafoods processing facility will be refurbished with the installation of a sophisticated and highly automated turnkey fish processing system designed and supplied by Skaginn 3X.

Denholm Seafoods says that this phase of the project will be completed by summer 2024 and will result in ‘significant savings in energy and packaging costs, as well as enabling greater volumes of fish to be handled’.

It says the provision of a new low-pressure pump system to offload mackerel, herring and blue whiting catches from boats on the quayside will deliver fish quality benefits, which will be further enhanced by a new non-pressure plate freezing system that freezes the end product much quicker than before.

The facility’s ‘intelligent’ process is designed to take about six hours from the time the raw material enters the factory through to final storage of the frozen end product. The project upgrade is expected to deliver energy savings in the region of 30% to 40%, contributing towards Scotland’s net-zero targets.

“Research has shown that Scottish mackerel production already has a much lower carbon footprint compared to most other types of protein production, and this new facility will enhance that green reputation even further,” said Richard Duthie.

The project was supported by £2.8m of funding under Defra’s £100m UK Seafood Fund and £1.2m from the Scottish government through the Marine Fund Scotland.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here.

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