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Shellfish management group nets funding from oil giant

SSMO inshore coordinator Carole Laignel with Total E&P UK's Simon Hare pictured in Lerwick.

SHETLAND Gas Plant operator Total has agreed to provide funding to the isles’ shellfish management organisation until 2021.

The money should help Shetland Shellfish Management Organisation (SSMO) to maintain standards required for Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) accreditation for its members.

The news comes two years after Total was criticised by Shetland Fishermen’s Association over the dangers of fishing near the company’s gas pipelines in Yell Sound.

There had been concerns over the amount of rock dumped on top of pipelines in the area, which is popular with scallop vessels.

SSMO inshore co-ordinator Carole Laignel said: “The Shetland Shellfish Management Organisation are very pleased that Total E&P UK have chosen to help us through the next four years of work with the Marine Stewardship Council by providing us with financial assistance for scientific advice and annual audits.”

Shetland has three MSC accredited fisheries – velvet crab, brown crab and king scallops.

The sustainable status of the isles’ scallop fishery was renewed in June despite objections from campaign group Open Seas, which claimed scallop dredging was harming the marine environment.