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Major Expansion Underway at Orkney Crab processing Plant

Crustaceans Processing Economics +3 more

ORKNEY, UK - A major 400,000 expansion is underway at the Orkney Fishermens Society (OFS) crab processing plant already the UKs largest - as the business moves to meet a growing demand for its products from leading supermarket chains.

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Six new jobs will be created by the redevelopment, with work at the Stromness based factory due for completion early next summer. The plant, which currently employs around 80 people, has been operating seven days a week since June of this year.

Larger blast freezing and chill facilities are being created as part of the expansion programme, along with extra processing space for new, added value product lines. The OFS plant is also set to become the first in the UK to operate humane stunning equipment and x-ray shell fragment detection on a crab meat production line.

Funding for the project is coming from Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Marine Scotland and from shareholders of OFS, which operates as a cooperative.

"This expansion is absolutely vital if we are to meet the growing worldwide demand for our existing products and progress the development of several important new lines," said OFS managing director, Stewart Crichton. "We've worked very hard to become market leaders in the UK crab meat sector and have gained approval for direct supply to major supermarket chains through our rigorous adherence to the high quality, hygiene, and traceability standards demanded by key retailers."

Mr Crichton said turnover was expected to rise to around 9 million a year when the expanded plant was fully operational, with 40-50 tons of crab being processed every week.