Positive outlook for Shetland fishing industry
There's a positive future ahead for the Shetland fishing industry, with multi-million £ investment in the white fish and pelagic sectors reflecting renewed confidence. That’s the message from Sandra Laurenson, Chief Executive of Lerwick Port Authority, on its return as an exhibitor to Skipper Expo International in Aberdeen (25-26 May 2018).
The Port Authority is again helping sustain and develop the industry with further investment, this time in a £7.6 million replacement white fish market. With construction underway in May, by Tulloch Developments Ltd, the market will double capacity to 1,600 square metres and provide a range of benefits when completed in early-2020.
It 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.
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.”
Recent figures from the Port Authority 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%.
“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,” she added.
The vessels will be able to use facilities at Mair’s Pier where capacity, including shore power, is suitable for their increased size.
“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,” Laurenson said.
Lerwick Port Authority is exhibiting on stand 67 at Skipper Expo International.