An extension to Lerwick's fishmarket has been successfully brought into operation to help handle higher landings at the Shetland port and in anticipation of increased tonnages of cod.
Providing a fourth bay onto the market, the single storey extension by Lerwick Port Authority accommodates 250 boxes, with the section chilled, as is the rest of the market.
Sandra Laurenson, the Authority’s Chief Executive, said: “The project reflects the success of the port in attracting higher landings, both from the local fleet and from vessels based elsewhere, and our support for the increased activity. The existing market could comfortably hold 1,000 boxes, but lately this has been regularly exceeded.”
White fish landings at Lerwick continued to grow during 2008 to around double the figure of five years ago. For the 12 months ended 31 December, they totalled 10,057 tonnes, valued at £16 million, an increase of 16% on tonnage and 24% on value compared to 2007. The price per tonne was £1,597, a 6.7% increase.
The local vessel, Copious, was the first to land at the extension, brought into operation at a total cost of £160,000. It was completed in three months by local contractor, DITT Construction, with Forbes Refrigeration providing the chilling.
Ms Laurenson added: “The extension is designed to cope with the current increase in landings, and, with cod quotas set to rise in 2009, we are hopeful of at least maintaining our market share.
“In our continuing commitment to the fishing industry, we are already looking to the future, with plans including a new market at a different location. We aim to commence work this year on a new quay north of Holmsgarth which will provide the site for the development which will have modern facilities – again including chilling and an electronic auction hall - improved landward access and deeper berthing, already dredged to six metres.”