Job cuts expected at Scottish Salmon Company
A salmon farming company has warned that it expects to make job cuts at its operations in Lewis.
The Scottish Salmon Company (SSC) said it would try to redeploy staff where possible, or offer them help to find alternative work.
The firm employs 169 people in the Western Isles.
SSC said its review of the workforce followed delays in securing permissions for new farms, low market prices and disease affecting some fish stocks.
Farms at Arnish and Marybank which supply a processing plant in Stornoway have not been operating at full capacity.
It is not known how many jobs could be lost. SSC said the cuts could be made in the spring, but the situation at the farms could improve next year.
Chief executive Stewart McLelland said: "We deeply regret this situation, but hope that we can reassure local communities that once more sites start to produce fish, we will once again have the volumes that make full production at Marybank and Arnish viable again.
"Despite our best efforts to correct the imbalance of production cycles across the company's operation, we have not been able to establish and develop new sites as originally expected within the necessary timescales.
"This process of expansion continues but, for the moment, there is now a time lag before sufficient numbers of next generation of fish can be harvested and processed through Marybank."
SSC runs more than 50 sites along the west coast of Scotland and in total employs more than 380 staff.
Local authority Comhairle nan Eilean Siar said news of the expected job losses were "extremely disappointing".
Leader Angus Campbell said: "The comhairle has been, and remains, supportive of the company's strategic plans for the islands including processing in Stornoway and adding value locally.
"It is very much to be hoped that if job losses occur they will be temporary and that the company can get back on track in as short a time as possible."
The Western Isles' SNP MP Angus MacNeil and MSP Alasdair Allan said families involved with the firm will be concerned.