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Blueshell expands into crab processing

Michael Laurenson: 'Smaller yet more efficient premises in Heylor' - Photo: ShetNews

BRAE-based seafood company Blueshell Mussels is in the process of buying the Mid Yell crab processing firm SNPC and relocating its operation to the vacant Ronas fish factory.

Blueshell confirmed on Friday that the majority of Shetland Norse Preserving Company’s employees were transferring to the new premises in Northmavine.

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Earlier this week, salmon farming company Meridian announced that they were taking over the SNPC premises in Mid Yell creating eight new jobs.

Blueshell Mussel’s managing director Michael Laurenson said the new business would operate as Shetland Crab Ltd and be wholly owned by Blueshell.

He said the business had invested a “significant six-figure sum” to continue the long established crab processing operation and safeguard local employment.

He added that all the company’s products – mussels, scallops and now crab – were all Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) accredited. Most importantly, the factory produces canned crab for the John West brand.

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“We will be creating a number of efficiencies to develop the business – the most significant of which is moving to smaller yet more efficient premises at Heylor.

“The premises are currently being refurbished to a very high standard to allow high-care crab processing to meet the stringent quality standards expected by our customers,” he said.

Laurenson added that it had been vital to retain “SNPC’s very experienced and highly skilled crab processing staff”.

“We are confident that we can develop the business through Blueshell’s existing customer base by providing a wider portfolio of MSC accredited shellfish products,” he said.

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The crab processing factory in Mid Yell was first established by Henry Krantz in 1968, described as “a highly motivated individual who wanted to give something back to the people of Shetland in respect of the Shetland – Norway historic legacy”.

SNPC director Anders Offerdal said: “A generation has passed, and with the majority of the business owners (including the late Henry’s son, Päl) now over retirement age, it is important that the values and relationships which have been built up over the past 44 years continue.

“When Michael Laurenson approached the owners over a year ago, Blueshell Mussels was tentatively considered to be a good fit as a potential purchaser. 

“Blueshell already enjoys a good reputation, gained over 15 years of operation, for fairness, consistency, strong local employment values and with a proven track record in shellfish catching, growing and processing. Michael also had a passion and vision for the future of the industry.”

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