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Fishing industry celebrates with yearbook

THE SHETLAND fishing industry has published its first ever yearbook celebrating a resilient sector and also enhancing the general knowledge of the industry’s significance to the isles.

The full-colour A4 book is a comprehensive guide of the industry past and present and gives a confident outlook despite radical changes to fish landing regimes coming in next year.

It discusses in some detail the whitefish, pelagic and shellfish sectors before listing all 180 commercial fishing boats operating in Shetland waters ranging from the larges pelagic trawler to the smallest inshore boat.

The Shetland Fishermen Yearbook 2016 gives also details of fisheries related organisations, including the vital role of the NAFC Marine Centre.

In his introduction, executive officer of the Shetland Fishermen’s Association (SFA), Simon Collins, not only makes the point that more fish is landed in Shetland than in England, Wales and Northern Ireland combined, but also emphasises that almost half of British fish landings are caught within 100 miles of Shetland.

The new Guardian Angell arriving at Lerwick harbour on 5 August 2015 - Photo: Hans J Marter/ShetNews

Collins writes that the fishing industry is thriving while being under pressure at the same time.

“It’s a major paradox. On the one hand, we have robust and diverse fish stocks and a forward-looking industry busily investing in its future; on the other, we have the political climate which is extremely unhelpful.”

Highlights of 2015 were:-

  • modernisation and lengthening of the pelagic trawlers Research and Adenia;
  • delivery of the new whitefish trawler Guardian Angell to Michael Henderson and partners;
  • new shellfish boats such as the Boy Frazer II,
  • a new young partnership from Whalsay starting fishing with the previous Guardian Angell, now renamed Courageous;
  • ongoing work on the new fishing pier at Holmsgarth, which will eventually also see a new fish market being built.

Collins added: “From the fish to our boats, ports and scientist, the fishing industry is a good deal more than it first appears.

“In some ways it is like an iceberg, with most of its mass hidden from view.

“The idea is that this yearbook should give at least some idea of the whole, hidden from view or not.”

The Shetland Fishermen Yearbook 2016 has been compiled by Platform Shetland for the SFA. Designed by Lou Jackson and printed by the Shetland Times Ltd, the yearbook retails at £12.