Positive outlook for Shetland fishing industry

Lerwick Lerwick Port Authority has invested GB£7.6m in a replacement white fish market
Industry Database

There's a positive future ahead for the Shetland fishing industry, with multi-million-pound investment in the white fish and pelagic sectors reflecting renewed confidence.

That’s the message from Sandra Laurenson, chief executive of Lerwick Port Authority, which has invested GB£7.6m in a replacement white fish market. With construction underway this month, by Tulloch Developments Ltd, the market will double capacity to 1,600sqm and provide a range of benefits when completed in early-2020.

Speaking as Lerwick Port Authority returns as an exhibitor to Skipper Expo Int. Aberdeen, Ms Laurenson said: “The white fish sector is enjoying a period of robust health, with plentiful stocks, good prices and new fleet investment. Management of stocks in recent years has resulted in increased stocks and the renewed confidence in the sector is heartening.”

13% value increase

Port authority figures for the three months to March this year showed white fish landed up 7.8% and value increased 13%, compared with the same period in 2017, for an average price of £1,833 per tonne, up 4.1%.

The building of the fish market follows construction of Mair's Quay - the location for the market - and Mair's Pier in recent years and is the final component in the regeneration of the port's Holmsgarth area as a modern hub for the industry.

“While the pelagic processing sector remains squeezed in a weak international marketplace, there is also a positive message, with owners investing around £150 million in the Shetland fleet with delivery of five replacement vessels in 2018-19,” Ms Laurenson added.

The vessels will be able to use facilities at Mair’s Pier where capacity, including shore power, is suitable for their increased size.

Ms Laurenson stressed: “While inevitably there will be challenges, not least the resolution of fishing policy post-Brexit, the latest investment by the industry and the Port Authority will help sustain and develop the Shetland sector’s future, harbour activity and the strength of the Shetland economy.”

Skipper Expo Int. Aberdeen takes place from 25-26 May.

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