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Mackerel quota agreed

THE THREE sides involved in sharing out next year’s north east Atlantic mackerel quota have reached an agreement after one week of talks in Bergen.

A total allowable catch of 1,054,000 tonnes has been set following scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea.

After this has been shared out between the European Union, Norway and Faroe, the UK will receive a quota for 2015 of 245,363 tonnes.

SIC looks at selling Sella Ness

Best value for Sella Ness? Three council tugs escort the tanker 'Value' into Sullom Voe last year. Photo John BatesonSHETLAND Islands Council is considering selling off its oil port at Sullom Voe after hearing that it could earn an extra £2.5 million a year by investing the proceeds on the financial markets.

A financial model of the future of the port until 2050 has shown the council could expect to earn £2.8 million a year if it continues as the main operator.

However if it sold the port for the estimated value of £71.7 million, it could make £5.3 million a year by investing the cash on the stock markets, based on a projected 7.3 per cent return.

Postage charges under threat, MP says

Isles MP Alistair Carmichael.ISLES MP and Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael has warned the Royal Mail's universal service obligation (USO) is under threat.

Carmichael has called on the regulator Ofcom to intervene to ensure remote areas like Shetland receive the same level of service as more populated parts of the country.

He also denied suggestions that last year's privatisation of the Royal Mail had undermined its ability to deliver post nationwide for the same price.

Renewed warnings: Legal highs can kill

POLICE and health professionals in Shetland are stepping up their fight to stop the growing use of 'legal highs' in the isles after drugs worth £40,000 were seized earlier this month.

Shetland area commander Eddie Graham said the confiscation of the psychoactive substances (or NPS) was the largest ever in Shetland.

So far two deaths in the islands have been linked to legal highs this year.

North isles recruitment drive

Council leader Gary Robinson - Photo: Malcolm Younger/Millgaet MediaAFTER years of reducing the number of local people working for Shetland Islands Council, the local authority is now embarking on a recruitment drive to find relief workers in the north isles.

The SIC has also been hit by competition from the oil and construction industries able to offer better wages than the public sector.

Lately, the council has had to employ agency contractors in care homes and also on ferries to fill empty posts.

Fishing talks under way in Bergen

Shetland Fishermen's Association executive officer Simon CollinsPOLITICIANS and fisheries leaders are meeting in the Norwegian city of Bergen this week for the annual EU/Norway negotiations over shared fish stocks.

While the controversial five-year deal over mackerel fishing rights in the north east Atlantic will undoubtedly feature during the talks, the main focus will be on next year's quotas for cod and haddock.

Local fishermen hope for "reasonable" increases in quotas for both these stocks for 2015, but a final agreement is only expected following a second round of talks in Dublin, during the first week in December.

Ann scoops food champion award

SCOOP Wholefoods has been named the overall winner of the Shetland Food Champion Awards, voted for by those who attended this weekend's Shetland Food Fair, in the Clickimin Centre.

A proud supporter of Shetland food, Scoop owner Ann Johnson has over recent years steadily increased the range of local seasonal produce available at the shop.

The awards, run by Shaw Marketing, attracted more then 300 votes, nominating more than 60 local businesses.

Rare bronze armlet returns to isles

The unusual Fetlar bronze armlet, which arrived in Shetland on Friday. Photo Shetland Museum and ArchivesA RARE iron age body decoration has finally found its way back home to Shetland almost 250 years after it was found on the isle of Fetlar.

The Fetlar bronze armlet is the only one remaining of a hoard of six uncovered in 1772 near where Brough Lodge now stands.

The artefact, considered one of Shetland’s most unusual treasures, goes on display at Shetland Museum and Archives over the festive period from this Sunday until 20 January.

Scott and Lochhead clash over mackerel

The Nearaberg moored at Morrison Dock On Friday - Ian Leask.FISHERIES protection officers have inspected yet another Faroese super trawler, as the political pressure on Marine Scotland grows.

On Friday morning, the 95 metre pelagic trawler Næraberg was escorted into Lerwick harbour by fisheries protection officers.

A fresh start for the SSPCA

The SSPCA lasses Louise Sales (right) and Terresa Leask ready to look after animal welfare in the isles. Photo BBC Radio ShetlandANIMAL charity Scottish SPCA is getting a fresh start in Shetland with two new staff following the retirement of senior inspector Ron Patterson earlier this year.

Louise Sales, from Burra, has stepped up to the post of inspector after spending six years as Patterson’s auxiliary in the isles.

The 34 year old, who has just completed five months intensive training on the mainland, said she was “excited and enthusiastic” about taking up the job.

Shock at deaths of elderly Yell couple

PEOPLE on the Shetland isle of Yell have expressed shock and disbelief after an elderly brother and sister were found dead in a flat in Penicuik, near Edinburgh.

Neither 80 year old Williamina Thomson or her 78 year old brother John Guthrie have lived in Yell for many years, but the pair still have relations in the island.

They were both found dead in their home at Royal Court late on Monday night.

All set for ‘Children in Need’ fundraiser

Getting into gear BBC Radio Shetland's biggest night are (from left): Richard Forbes, John Johnston, Pudsey, Mike Grundon and Jane Moncrieff. Now where is Daniel Lawson?THE team at BBC Radio Shetland is getting into gear for their annual Children in Need broadcasting marathon.

Friday's six hour show broadcast on 92.7FM from 7pm to 1am will showcase some of the best live music in Shetland.

Young thief presents “a difficult case”

A YOUNG Lerwick man with learning difficulties was described as “a cunning thief” at the town’s sheriff court after he admitted three counts of theft and one breach of bail.

On Thursday 22 year old Ian Mutch pled guilty to breaking into an old man’s house in the village of Aith and stealing £20 from a money box on 30 January while the man was being treated in hospital.

After his arrest in March, Mutch was released on bail and placed under a curfew to stay in his supported accommodation at 12 Arheim every night.

Natasha's efforts raise thousands for kids' causes

Natasha Fraser's daughter Akira, who turns two later this month.A MOTHER from Lerwick whose young daughter’s medical condition means she needs to be fed through a tube has raised well over £4,000 for children’s charities.

Natasha Fraser’s daughter Akira, who will be two later this month, has to be fed through a nasal gastric tube and has spent more than a quarter of her life so far at Yorkhill in Glasgow.

For the latest in a string of fundraising efforts, last week Natasha, 29, went on a liquids-only diet for a week to gain greater awareness of what life must be like for her daughter.

AHS team confident of delivering by April 2017

A computer generated image of the main entrance atrium of the new Anderson High School - Image: SICTHE DESIGN team behind the new Anderson High School, in Lerwick, has expressed confidence that the new school will stand up to local weather conditions and be ready for pupils to move in by April 2017.

Managers from Hub North Scotland and architects Ryder were in Shetland on Wednesday to update the local authority of progress on the largest capital project Shetland Islands Council has ever undertaken.

Man who asked children for drugs is jailed

A TWENTY three year old man previously convicted of asking four children for drugs and threatening them has been jailed for four months after breaching a community payback order. 

Alwyn MacDonald, of Murrayston, Lerwick, had avoided prison when he was sentenced in Kirkwall for the original offence, committed in August 2013.

Lerwick Sheriff Court heard that since then he had been “flitting between” Orkney and Shetland and “avoiding dealing with” the 100-hour sentence.

Faroese skipper faces technical charges

The fisheries protection vessel Hitra escorting Christian I Grotinum to Lerwick harbour on Sunday - Photo: Ian LeaskThe FAROESE super trawler detained in Lerwick for three days is on her way home after its skipper appeared before the town's sheriff court on Tuesday lunchtime.

Pall Klein Rasmussen, of 28 Selheygsgot, Klaksvik, Faroe Islands, is facing two technical charges under EU fishing regulations, one referring to the chemical processing of fish, and a second alleging that fish had not been frozen immediately after grading.

Plans unveiled for Clickimin indoor sports pitch

A panoramic view of what the new building could look like.A NEW indoor synthetic sports pitch could be built to the south of Clickimin Leisure Complex in association with the new Anderson High School project.

Shetland Recreational Trust (SRT) hopes to build a facility – expected to cost between £1.4m and £1.7m – suitable for football and rugby among other sports. It would allow the SRT to provide extra space for school PE lessons on weekdays and for local sportsmen and sportswomen out of school hours.

Local residents and representatives from sporting organisations were shown plans for the 12.5 metres-high structure at a meeting on Monday night. 

Call to tear up Faroese mackerel deal

The fisheries protection vessel Hitra escorting Christian I Grotinum to Lerwick harbour on Sunday - Photo: Ian LeaskSHETLAND Fishermen's Association (SFA) is demanding that the EU and Norway tear up the deal that awarded the Faroe Islands a huge increase in the mackerel quota.

The call comes on the same day that Faroese super trawler Christian I Grotinum was detained off Shetland for allegedly breaching fishing regulations.

Opinion: beginning to see the light?

CONGRATULATIONS are due after last week’s decision not just to keep open the two closure-threatened primaries in Northmavine, but also to abandon the consultations on closing Sandness and Burravoe.

At last it seems that Shetland Islands Council has got the message that people in these islands do not want to lose their rural primaries. It’s just a shame that it took 12 years.

Faroese fishing boat detained

The fisheries protection vessel Hitra escorting Christian I Grotinum to Lerwick harbour on Sunday - Photo: Ian Leask AN investigation into alleged breaches of quota regulations is under way by Marine Scotland after a Faroese pelagic trawler was detained off Shetland.

The 84 metre Christian I Grotinum was escorted to Lerwick harbour by the fisheries protection vessel Hitra on Sunday afternoon.

New rural freight charges raise eyebrows

The new rural freight centre beside COPE's Shetland Scrapstore at Gremista. Photo: ShetnewsSOME rural businesses have raised concerns about a new charging regime for the rural freight service being run by special needs charity and social enterprise COPE.

COPE took over the service when it was dropped by Shetland Islands Council in May to save the authority around £80,000 a year.

What now for education in Shetland?

THE FUTURE of education in Shetland is set to be raised with Holyrood and local government watchdogs as councillors mull the consequences of their decision to keep closure-threatened schools open this week.

Shetland Islands Council leader Gary Robinson is planning to challenge the Scottish government on how island authorities can meet government targets to retain teachers and protect rural schools on a decreasing budget.

Blueprint in disarray as primaries are saved

SHETLAND Islands Council has voted decisively against shutting two primary schools in Northmavine and removed the threat of closure from a further two small communities.

Elected members voted 12-9 to keep the tiny North Roe primary open, and by a decisively 18-3 margin to maintain Urafirth primary – going against the recommendations of the local authority’s children’s services department.