The importance of investment in the Shetland fishing industry has been highlighted by Lerwick Port Authority Chief Executive, Sandra Laurenson.
The industry – white fish, pelagic, shellfish and aquaculture – is the biggest single contributor to the islands' economy, more than the four other main business categories combined.
Commenting ahead of the annual Fishing Expo exhibition in Aberdeen, where the Authority will participate, Ms Laurenson said: "The trends are positive, with recent and current investment across many in the sector including new boats and vessel upgrades, modernised processing, additional infrastructure and the local supply chain.
“Lerwick Port Authority takes a long term view on infrastructure investment which is essential with fluctuations in international market conditions affecting landings from time-to-time. The abundant fish stocks around Shetland are well managed and of great quality and Shetland is best-placed to develop this trade.
“Our commitment to the future, along with community-based organisations supporting fisheries and aquaculture in the islands, means that sustained development on an ongoing basis will provide continued benefits to the sector and community.
“We are hopeful that the new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund will assist in delivery of Lerwick’s new fish market to complement the substantial private investment the Authority is making in Holmsgarth North Quay.”
At the heart of rich fishing grounds, Lerwick is one of Britain’s main centres for landing, selling, processing and shipment of seafood and for the servicing of vessels
The Authority's latest fishing-related project is the £16.4 million, 800-metre-plus Holmsgarth North jetty. Under construction earlier this year for completion in autumn, 2016, the L-shaped structure will ultimately have 10 metres’ water alongside, providing deeper berthing, increased working area and shelter for a planned replacement white fish market.
Plans for the market are at an advanced stage, with construction scheduled for 2016-18. It will be located on the £3.17 million Mair's Quay, completed in 2013 and now a valuable asset for the industry. The market and quays will bring significant improvements in landing and transportation of fish and in supporting vessels.