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Marine / More than £6m worth of mussels produced locally last year

A Shetland mussel farm. Photo: Taste of Shetland

EIGHTY per cent of mussels produced in Scotland last year came from Shetland, new figures show.

The weight of mussels produced in Shetland in 2021 was also a significant rise on the previous year – 6,850 tonnes compared to 4,427 tonnes.

The value of mussels produced in Shetland also rose from £4.17 million in 2020 to £6.27 in 2021.

The figures are included in the Scottish Government’s latest shellfish farm production survey results.

Seafood Shetland chief executive Ruth Henderson said the level of mussel production was a “remarkable achievement at a time when the food service industry has experienced such volatility – and surely demonstrates how highly regarded the product is in the marketplace”.

Across Scotland the tonnage of mussels produced increased by 52 per cent to 5,661 tonnes – the highest level of production ever recorded in the country.

There were a total of 101 jobs in Shetland in the shellfish sector in 2021, spread across 24 businesses. Only 17 of the 101 employees were female, with just one in full-time work.

Shetland also has by the far the highest number of shellfish sites when it comes to producing regions in Scotland.

However, the production value of Shetland’s mussels has dipped  in recent years, owing to fluctuating prices.

For example in 2017 6,647 tonnes were produced – a similar amount to 2021. But the value that year was more than £9 million, compared to £6.27 million in 2021.