Boost for marine industry in Argyll

SAMS, Dunstaffnage, near Oban

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More than £4.5m is to be invested in expanding the European Marine Science Park (EMSP) at Dunstaffnage near Oban in a move that is expected to create more than 30 well-paid jobs.

Almost £2m will be invested by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) in fitting out the ground floor of the park’s Malin House to meet demand from growing marine businesses for laboratory and office space.

HIE has approved a further £2.77m investment in groundworks, road development and car parking provision for the next three buildings planned for the EMSP site.

The groundworks costs are supported by funding from National Cycle Network custodians SUSTRANS.

Morag Goodfellow, HIE’s area manager for Argyll and the Islands, said: ‘The Highlands and Islands has an outstanding marine environment with almost two thirds of the UK’s coastline and coastal waters.

‘It’s important that the region benefits from emerging opportunities from the marine economy, which will help increase productivity and provide valuable rural employment.

‘These further investments at the park will support the sustainable growth of our marine industry and contribute to economic recovery. They will create opportunities in skills development and entrepreneurship, particularly for young people, and enhance confidence in Argyll as a business location for inward investors.’

Malin House, completed in 2012, is home to 10 different marine sector companies, active in a broad range of commercial marine activity.

Adjacent to Malin House is the Scottish Association of Marine Science, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands network, which plays a key role nurturing incubation companies before they look to expand into Malin House.

Groundworks, by TSL Contractors Limited, are expected start in February with completion anticipated during July.