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Marine / Arrival of the new Copious the ‘ultimate expression of confidence’

The new Copious at Mair's Quay on Tuesday afternoon. With her are some of the crew of both new vessels (left to right): Mark Anderson, Magnus Williamson, skipper Andrew White, Nicol Anderson, Tighe Henderson, skipper Ryan Arthur, Wayne Strachan, Aivis Sulkies and Fraser Smith. Missing from the photo are: Jake Anderson, Karl Manson, Willum Clubb and Logan Jamieson. There will also be some Filipino crew. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland News

LERWICK’s jarl squad had just revealed its beautiful galley to the public for the first time on Tuesday morning when another, even more impressive, new build sailed into Lerwick Harbour for the first time.

It took Mark Anderson and his crew 17 days to complete the journey from the Croatian Tehnomont shipyard to Lerwick’s Mair’s Quay.

Anderson and his partners in the 60 North Fishing (Shetland) company placed the order for two new vessels to replace the previous Copious LK985 and Prolific LK986 in October 2020.

The second vessel is due to arrive in the isles in early summer.

At 24.9 metres in length and fitted with a 588kw engine, both Copious and her sister vessel Prolific have been designed to be more eco-friendly and as such more economical.

Designed by Macduff Ship Design, the two new vessels have a beam of nine metres and provide accommodation for up to 12 crew members. Anderson said they would have a crew of eight when fishing.

Both new trawlers are replacing the previous vessels with the same names which have served the company well over the last 16 years. The previous Copious has been taken on by a new local fishing partnership and has been renamed Brighter Hope.

Anderson said that it was because of the success of the previous vessels that he and the other shareholders have been able to invest an undisclosed sum in the next generation of fishing boats.

The new vessels are fitted out for single and pair trawling, and can be switched from one fishing method to the other in about an hour, Anderson said.

One of the main innovations is an onboard cooling system for the catch which will lower the temperature of the fish in a controlled fashion before the catch is stored in the fish room.

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Based on an idea that has been developed in Iceland, the catch should, if successful, be even fresher when landed and thus achieve better prices.

Anderson said fishermen in Iceland were facing a challenge of getting their catches to European markets as freshly as possible, and in many ways Shetland’s location at the very periphery of the UK was not too dissimilar to that of Iceland.

Copious arriving on Tuesday morning at Lerwick harbour. Photo: John Bateson

Around half of all whitefish landed at Shetland’s two fish markets is exported to customers in Continental Europe.

“It is a shot into the dark, and we hope it will work out for us,” Anderson said, adding that the Copious was only the second fishing vessel in the UK fitted with a slurry ice machine to keep the catch fresh.

Anderson continued by saying that he was relatively confident with regards to the future of the fishing industry. “I have a game plan,” he said – although he had no intention of sharing what that entailed, adding that in the past they have always looked for different ways of making it work including fishing in the south of England for longer periods.

He praised local fishermen’s representatives for fighting a hard battle in securing better quotas for cod and haddock during the end of year negotiation.

A fishing community in the truest sense

However, he said the country’s fishing industry still did not get the recognition and attention by the Scottish Government that it should have, and felt that Scotland could benefit so much more from its fishing industry. “It’s a massive resource,” he said.

Shetland Fishermen’s Association executive officer Daniel Lawson described the arrival of a new boat as “the ultimate expression of confidence in the skill of Shetland’s fishing fleet and the sustainability of Shetland’s fishing grounds”.

Since 2015, he said, around £200 million has been spent by those in the industry on new, more modern and fuel-efficient vessels.

“A quarter of all Scotland’s whitefish vessels and around 40 per cent of the nation’s total pelagic fleet are now Shetland boats.

“In most other parts of Britain, the fishing industry has fallen away to become this historic and romanticised pastime, a thing that your grandfather used to do.

“Shetland has remained a fishing community in the truest sense, because that continuing investment and development has kept it a real and relevant and exciting option for interested younger generations coming through.

“The new Copious and Prolific are the latest expressions of that forward looking and long-term vision that Shetland’s fishing fleet has always exemplified.”

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