New £30m processing facility for Denholm Seafoods, Scotland

The new facility for processing mackerel and herring will improve energy efficiency and open up new business opportunities for the company.
Fishing boats at Peterhead harbour, Scotland, location of the new Denholm Seafoods facility. Photo: Adobe Stock.
Fishing boats at Peterhead harbour, Scotland, location of the new Denholm Seafoods facility. Photo: Adobe Stock.

Denholm Seafoods in Peterhead, Scotland, has begun work on a new state-of-the-art mackerel, herring and blue whiting processing facility and cold-store upgrade. The £30m development will result in increased efficiencies, enhanced product quality and a lower carbon footprint, the company says.

The investment is one of the largest ever undertaken by a wild-caught fish processing company in Scotland, and includes support of £2.8m in government funding from the Defra £100m UK Seafood Fund, with a further £1.2m provided by Marine Scotland.

The upgrade will enable Denholm Seafoods will also increase its daily freezing capacity, and boost cold storage capacity to 19,000 tonnes. Construction of a new 12,000 square metres cold store is planned adjacent to the current Denholm Seafoods processing site at Peterhead harbour.

Benefits for Scotland's pelagic sector

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," said Duthie.

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

Energy savings with an "intelligent" process

In addition to the new cold store, the existing Denholm Seafoods processing facility will be refurbished with a sophisticated and highly automated turnkey fish processing system designed and supplied by Norwegian high-tech fish processing systems company Skaginn 3X.

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.

The facility will adopt an "intelligent" process, meaning it will take only six hours from raw material to frozen end product. The refurbishment includes installing a new low pressure pump system to offload mackerel, herring and blue whiting catches from boats on the quayside. This technique, says the company, will ensure higher fish quality, together with a new non-pressure plate freezing system that freezes the end-product much quicker than before.

The upgrade will deliver energy savings in the region of 30-40% – a reduction which Duthie says has added benefits in 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," he said.

About Denholm Seafoods

Denholm Seafoods processes pelagic fish caught from sustainable fisheries by its local fishing partners in the North East Atlantic.  The company produces a wide range of high quality pelagic fish products, which are then delivered fresh or frozen to its customers in the UK and worldwide. From boat to port, through processing and onward delivery, the company aims to ensure consistently high quality fish to its customers, with full traceability.

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