Plans have been submitted for Scotland’s first caviar farm beside Loch Fyne in Argyll.

Developers Fynest Caviar hope to start work in the spring at Ardkinglas sawmill at Cairndow, near the head of the loch.

They said: “It is anticipated Scottish-produced caviar will be in the shops by Christmas 2020.”

However, Argyll and Bute Council could not say how long it would take to consider the planning application, which was lodged last month.

Stephen O’Brien, a chartered accountant, financier and one of the company’s three shareholders, said: “The object is to become a leading high quality and profitable niche producer of caviar and sturgeon meat based on an ethical, sustainable and environmentally-friendly operation.

“We are keen to ensure that we are a centre of excellence in our knowledge of the species and our process produces the highest standard of care.”

Fellow shareholder and chartered accountant Fraser Niven said the firm hoped to capitalise on the reputation of nearby producers Loch Fyne Oysters, the Scottish Salmon Company and Fyne Ales.

He said “We are planning to create an important facility in an area that is known around the world for its quality seafood products.”

The third shareholder is property developer Trevor Knight.

However, Ken Benning, who runs the UK’s only caviar farm in Devon, was sceptical that caviar could be produced in just two years.
He said: “It’s great for the UK to have more people involved in the market.

“But to build it and have caviar in the shops in 2020 is very ambitious, unless they plan to buy in sturgeon with caviar in their bellies, which would seem to defeat the object.”

Edinburgh chef Mark Greenaway said: “I would love to try the caviar and see how it compares, although with it taking 25 years to grow the mature females, I am not sure I will still be cooking by then.”

The farm will be a “closed containment aquaculture facility” beside rather in the loch.

Mr Niven said: “A significant element of the investment is to acquire a blended initial stock, from accredited sustainable sources.

“The stock will acclimatise over the first twelve months and a small number of the fish will be in a position to provide caviar after a further 12 months.
“However, the key to the business is to hatch and rear fish.”

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