A new £1m quayside ice plant at Scrabster harbour, which is able to produce 30 tonnes of ice per day and has storage capacity of 60 tonnes, was officially opened by Scottish Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy & Connectivity Fergus Ewing MSP at the beginning of last week (Monday, 4 September).

Above: Whitefish vessels landing at Scrabster will benefit from the new quayside ice plant.

The new ice plant at Scrabster Harbour, the UK’s fourth largest landing port for fish, will allow fishing boats to take on ice at any time of the day or night, protecting the quality of their catch. The £1m ice plant entered service in August 2017 and produces ice in plate form, which is better-suited to modern fisheries.

Scrabster Harbour’s new £1m quayside ice plant was officially opened last week – left to right: Jason Hamilton (Harbour Master), Ross Farquhar (Deputy Harbour Master), Fergus Ewing MSP (Cabinet Secretary), Tom Pottinger (Trust Chairman), Anna MacConnell (Nuclear Decommissioning Authority), Sandy Mackie (Trust Manager).

The harbour required a new facility as the previous privately-run ice plant closed in December 2016.

Scrabster Harbour Trust invested in a new ice plant to provide facilities for fishing vessels while operating a temporary ice supply arrangement in the interim.

A total of £685,000 funding was awarded to purchase and install the new ice plant. Funding of £542,000 has come from European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) via the Scottish government and a further £143,000 from the Nuclear Decommissioning Association.

Norwegian company FrioNordica supplied and installed the ice plant, with local companies Alan Gow Groundworks and G Anderson Electrical Ltd contracted to undertake the civil and electrical works.

The official opening of the ice plant comes after a new independent report found the harbour currently generates £25m gross value added (GVA) in Caithness, and supports over 400 jobs. The opening of the ice plant is the latest investment in infrastructure made by the Scrabster Harbour Trust, with over £35m invested in port infrastructure in the past 25 years.

The Trust is looking to redevelop the St Ola Quay to create further deep-water harbour infrastructure at an estimated cost of £15m and is also exploring options to create additional laydown at the port.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity Fergus Ewing MSP said: “Scotland’s fishing industry is a vital part of our economy, supporting jobs and businesses in coastal communities such as Scrabster, and contributing significantly to our world-class food and drink industry.

“I am very pleased to open this new facility, which complements the wider programme of harbour improvements in Scrabster, increasing the quality of fish landed through better preservation and efficiency of vessels. It will increase Scrabster’s capacity to deliver ice to vessels at all states of the tide and help secure its future as a key fishing centre for years to come.”

Sandy Mackie, Trust manager, said: “It is welcome to have the Cabinet Secretary visit Scrabster Harbour and officially open the new ice plant. The Trust welcomes the support and backing we have received from the Scottish government and the NDA.

“The new ice plant will improve facilities for fishing vessels and will allow Scrabster Harbour to maintain its position among the UK’s top fish landing ports. The fishing industry is vital to the Scottish economy, and we are proud to be part of the sector. We would like to thank all the businesses that use and operate out of the harbour.

“This investment reflects the Trust’s commitment to ensuring fit-for-purpose facilities for the fishing industry, and we will continue to invest in the harbour going forward.”

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