News / In brief for 17 March

Funding fishing communities

SHETLAND might benefit from a new EU/Scottish government funding programme that will make available £1.5 million for the northern and western isles, along with Highland region and Argyll & Bute.

The government is inviting local councils to set up Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGS) to consider funding applications for projects that will benefit people in fishing communities. The first applications are expected to be invited by autumn of this year.

A total of £4.5 million has been made available through the European Fisheries Fund, of which £1.5 million will go the highlands and islands, the remainder going to the rest of Scotland.

Fishing minister Richard Lochhead said: “The Scottish government is fully committed to supporting our fishing communities.

“This new funding has the potential to make a real difference, by improving the quality of life for people in what can be fragile coastal communities.”


Whitefish landings

THE VALUE of whitefish landings into Scottish ports has been the highest for the last 10 years, according to provisional statistics released on Thursday.


Whitefish landings in 2010 were worth £152 million, equal to the value of shellfish landings, and higher than income from pelagic species that dropped from £151 million in 2009 to £128 million last year.

Fishing minister Richard Lochhead said: “The overall total of £428 million is a significant figure for the sector and underlines the industry’s vital role in Scotland.

“These figures show an industry producing high yields in difficult times, but we must also remember that profitability remains fragile due to fuel prices and other running costs.”

Scottish Fishermen’s Federation chief executive Bertie Armstrong added: “The fish landing statistics have to be taken in the context of significantly increased operating costs for the fishing fleet, most notably large increases in the cost of fuel and leasing of fishing days and quota, which means that many boats are operating on the edge of economic viability.”

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Carmichael warns Faroese

NORTHERN isles MP Alistair Carmichael has warned the Faroese government that the decision to increase their mackerel quota by around 75 per cent to 150,000 tonnes for 2011 cannot be without consequences.

The Scottish fishing industry has warned that Monday’s decision risks the sustainability of mackerel stocks in the north east Atlantic and is calling for sanctions against the Faroese and Iceland.

Mr Carmichael said: “The pursuit of short-term profit cannot be allowed to ride roughshod over the continuing sustainability of fish stocks, and the strength of feeling that this announcement has generated throughout the UK fishing industry is clear.

“I am certain that this announcement will not be without consequences for the Faroese fleet.”

Battle of the bands

YOUNG BANDS from across Shetland will get the chance to showcase their music during the four day visit of the Tall Ships Race, in July.


To qualify for an afternoon concert on the main stage at Holmsgarth on Friday 22 July, bands will have to compete at a youth talent tournament, to be held in Scalloway hall on Friday, 25 March.

Acts lined up so far are Organised Chaos, who play original material and unusually feature two bass players; punk influenced Casino Feat, a three piece from Lerwick; singer songwriter Keirynn Topp from Scalloway; Mercury Rising, an all girl four piece who attend the Anderson High School; metal band Automatic Chicken who have members from Scalloway and Lerwick; and jazz group Norman and the Folding Deckchairs, led by Norman Wilmore from Bixter.

Shetland Arts music development officer Bryan Peterson said: “This is a great chance for local young bands to share the stage at one of the biggest Shetland events of the decade, and for the young promoters to help programme such a major gig.”


Tickets for the talent tournament are priced £4 and available from Shetland Box Office.

Orchestra fundraiser

LOCAL musicians Donald MacDonald and Sally Prittie will give a fundraising concert for the embryonic Shetland Community Orchestra in Lerwick Town Hall at 7.30pm on Friday 25 March. 

They will be performing a rich variety of cello and piano music, including works by Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Bruch and Kodaly.

Shetland Community Orchestra aims to give local musicians the chance to perform and develop their playing, while letting local audiences hear a diverse and high quality programme of classical music.

Anyone of any age who plays an orchestral instrument to a minimum standard equivalent to Associated Board Grade 4 is welcome to join.  The orchestra hopes to be up and running soon with rehearsals scheduled for autumn this year.

Tickets for the fund raising concert are priced at £10/£8 and are available from Shetland Box Office.

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