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Council's dialogue with shellfish men ongoing

| Written by Chris Cope

Toft pier was fenced off by the SIC in early December last year - Photo: Robert Williamson Toft pier was fenced off by the SIC in early December last year - Photo: Robert Williamson OVER six million pounds will be injected in Shetland Islands Council's coffers next year from income generated through its ports and harbours.

However, plans to introduce new charges for landing of shellfish are off the agenda for the time being to allow further negotiation with the industry.

Shetland North councillor Alastair Cooper said he is confident a deal could be struck in the coming weeks after concerns were raised by fishermen over dues being charged for the dilapidated Toft pier.

Cooper - whose ward includes Toft - said there was "ongoing dialogue" with the industry over new charges.

"I met them on Wednesday, and I spoke to them this morning," he said following a meeting of the council's harbour board on Friday morning.

"There's a real desire to get this sorted out one way or another. It will work."

Infrastructure director Maggie Sandison confirmed that the council expects the industry to come forward with new proposals before the board's next meeting on 6 March.

Cooper added that he feels a resolution is vital to the future of the Toft pier, which became so run down last year that it was blocked off to users on health and safety grounds by the SIC.

"Without getting it sorted out, investment in the Toft pier for example would not happen," Cooper said.

Meanwhile, a report presented to the board said harbour activity should earn the council over £5.9 million in the next year, mainly from charges and fees.

With an income of £550,000 expected from Shetland Gas Plant rent, the total contribution to the SIC's reserve fund should come to a total of £6.46 million.

As fewer tankers are expected to call at Sullom Voe harbour in the coming 12 months, no increase in charges at the oil port are proposed.

However, while many fees will go up in line with inflation, dues for cruise ships are set to be reduced.

 

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