Seventy tons of old nets from Shetland’s pelagic fleet have been donated to a charity that takes them apart for recycling and uses the proceeds to help support several projects from Africa to the UK.

Retired Fraserburgh skipper Willie Whyte cleans the nylon nets and removes other materials like polypropylene cord and metal components before shipping.

The metal components go to scrap and the polypropylene ropes are sold to small fishing vessels for mooring ropes.

The money generated is used by his Oor Bairns Charitable Trust to support a range of projects, most recently the provision of three scanners for pregnant women, courtesy of Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, to the Nakasangola community in Uganda.

This follows the earlier provision of two scanners, the funding of two sonographers from Raigmore to travel to Uganda to train medical staff in their use and the building of a school and a scan suite.

The consignment was picked up by his son Will, skipper of the Grateful, when she was in Shetland for work to be done on the vessel.

The local fleet has supported the Oor Bairns Charitable Trust and its initiatives for many years.

Will Whyte said: “The Shetland skippers have a long history of giving us their old nets, so many thanks to them again for their support.

“Oor Bairns has been going for over 20 years and has been able to support hundreds of projects and has had the ability to improve the lives of many children.

“The support that the charity is giving to Uganda has made a big difference to the community there.”

Sheila Keith, of the Shetland Fishermen's Association, said: "The local fleet has a reputation for support a range of different good causes, local, national and international, and are delighted once again to have been able to support Willie and his amazing work."

Calum Grains, Chief Executive of Lerwick Port Authority, said: “The Authority is pleased to support the environmental efforts to recycle and reuse redundant fishing nets which gives new life to equipment that would otherwise require to be disposed of. The Whyte family are to be commended on this initiative which supports ‘Oor Bairns’, a charity providing services to young people.”

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