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Also in the news / Town Hall tree, puffins washed up, college prizes and more…

Tree-mendous! Photo: SIC

A TWENTY foot Christmas tree from Maløy in Norway is now standing tall outside Lerwick Town Hall.

The tree has been provided through the Lerwick-Maløy twinning arrangement which was first established in 1956.

The arrangement aims to promote cultural links between Shetland and the former municipality of Vågsøy, on the west coast of Norway, which includes the main town of Maløy.

The tree was recently been shipped to the UK by Norwegian shipping company Sea-Cargo before it was inspected by Forestry Commission officials in Aberdeen.

The tree has since arrived in Shetland and was installed at the Town Hall this morning (Thursday). Christmas lights will be added tomorrow.

Council convener Malcolm Bell said: “Shetland has many cultural and historical connections with our neighbours in Norway and we have for many years also had links with our twin town of Maløy.

“I’m grateful to Kinn Council for providing this Christmas tree to the people of Shetland, which symbolises the long-standing friendship between our two communities.”

MORE than 100 dead puffins have been found washed up across the North East of Scotland, Orkney and Shetland over the last three weeks.

The UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UKCEH) said it is one of the most “significant reports of its kind in the UK for this time of year” in the last five decades.

Dr Francis Daunt, seabird ecologist at UKCEH, said: “Many of the people who have found the birds say they are emaciated, which suggests there could be a problem within the marine food chain.”

Some of the birds found washed up in Orkney are adults, so there is a concern that this will have a negative effect on next year’s breeding numbers.

Anyone who spots a dead puffin and is able to safely take a photograph of it, clearly showing its beak and wings, is asked to send pictures to

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THIRTY three students have been awarded prizes by Shetland UHI in recognition of their achievements during the last two academic years.

Due to the ongoing Covid restrictions it has not been possible to hold in-person prize giving events for the last two years, so the prizes were awarded in an online ceremony which can be viewed below.

The awards spanned a range of subjects which included computing, hospitality, business, construction, English speakers of other languages, creative industries and engineering.

The full list of prize winners can be found here.

Shetland UHI principal and CEO Jane Lewis: “Prizegiving is an opportunity for us all to celebrate excellence and to recognise achievement. Not only to celebrate the prizewinners but to publicly celebrate the achievements of all the students who have attended the college.”

A NEW project is helping reduce mammal, shark and turtle entanglement in creel fishing gear in Scottish waters.

NatureScot today (Thursday) published a report today on the first phase of the Scottish Entanglement Alliance (SEA) project, which brings together commercial creel fishers, research scientists and conservation and rescue charities to better understand the scale and impacts of marine animal entanglement in Scottish waters.

Shetland creel fishers have been involved in the project.

NatureScot fisheries advisor Dr Kirstie Dearing said: “We all find it upsetting to see our majestic marine species in distress, so we’re really heartened by the strong commitment and willingness of the fishing industry to work towards practical, safe and sustainable solutions on the issue of entanglement.”

TIDAL energy company Nova Innovation has secured €2.5 million of funding to build an upscaled turbine that will “further slash the cost of tidal power”.

The European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator Fund will finance Nova’s UpTEMPO (Upscaling Tidal Energy Manufacturing and Production Output) project – a two-year campaign to design, build, and demonstrate an enhanced version of Nova’s 100kW tidal turbine.

Nova launched an array of tidal turbines in Bluemull Sound in Shetland in 2016.

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