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Also in the news / Dark matter talk, fishing demand, water sampling, apprenticeship awards and more…

TWO professors from universities on the Scottish mainland are due to hold a talk in Lerwick later this month about ‘dark matter’.

The Royal Society of Edinburgh event will take place at the Shetland Museum and Archives on 30 March, and tickets can be booked here.

Those speaking will be Prof. Alex Murphy, professor of nuclear and particle astrophysics, University of Edinburgh, and Prof. Martin Hendry, Professor of gravitational astrophysics and cosmology at the University of Glasgow.

The blurb for the free event says: “The term ‘dark matter’ has become a favourite of Sci-Fi, appearing in numerous books, TV shows and films. But what is it?

“Well, the honest answer is that we don’t know, and it might not even exist. But if it does – and most scientists think it does exist – then we have some pretty good ideas for what it might be.

“Around the world, using particle accelerators, space telescopes and ultra-sensitive detectors in deep underground laboratories, the search is on to find dark matter.”

FISHERIES groups from around Europe are demanding that governments “wake up and recognise the dangers to sustainable food production of the headlong rush” to develop offshore wind farms.

Members of the Northern Fishing Alliance, which includes Scotland, England, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands, insisted that without serious dialogue about how natural resources should best be used, and an equal place at the discussion table for fishers, the fishing industry and the communities it supports could be swept away.

In a statement, the group said this week: “Fishermen’s representatives from around Europe have met in London because of their overwhelming concern about what is happening to our seas. Fishing has provided livelihoods, sustained communities and strengthened our countries’ ability to feed themselves for thousands of years.

“All of this is now at risk, as new regulations and vast industrial developments move ahead at an unprecedented pace with little thought for the consequences.”

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SAMPLING is set to take place at the Clickimin Loch in Lerwick in an attempt to get to the bottom of concerns over water quality.

The project, from the Shetland Anglers’ Association, has already attracted £2,500 in funding from SSE Renewables – the developer of the Viking Energy wind farm.

While SSE’s money will go towards initial sampling, a funding bid for £6,000 for follow-up tests went in front of Lerwick Community Council on Monday – with the application approved.

Bressay ferry linkspan. Photo: SIC

ESSENTIAL works on the Lerwick and Bressay ferry terminals planned for next week have now been postponed, due to weather conditions causing delays on current works at Gutcher and Belmont ferry terminals.

Works were due to take place on the Lerwick and Bressay ferry terminals overnight on 14 and 15 March, but they will be postponed to a later date.

Meanwhile this Saturday’s Bressay parkrun has been called off due to the wintry weather.

SHETLAND Islands Council says while the tendering process for residential services at the Walter and Joan Gray care home has been formally discontinued, procurement remains ongoing.

A spokesperson said the local authority had no further comment to make at this stage.

Residential and day care services at the Walter and Joan Care Home in Scalloway are currently provided by CrossReach, the social care provider of the Church of Scotland. The contract is due to expire at the end of March.

THE SAXAVORD Spaceport team have applied for planning permission to install a buried fibre communications cable in road in Unst.

The road in question is between the Saxa Vord crossroads and Lamba Ness – the site of the spaceport’s launch pads.

JOHN Goodlad’s book The Salt Roads: How Fish Made a Culture will be translated into Dutch and published in the Netherlands by Noordboek.

The book, published last year, tells the story how salt fish from Shetland became one of the staple foods of Europe.

Julie-Ann Murray. Photo: Skills Development Scotland

AS PREVIOUSLY mentioned on the Shetland News Facebook page, local farmer Julie-Ann Murray has been named Scotland’s Apprentice of the Year 2023.

The apprentice, from North Roe, said: “I’ve changed a lot in my apprenticeship. It’s given me so much confidence.

“My apprenticeship has made me confirm I want to be in agriculture and work in agriculture. I’ve done it all my life, it’s what I want to keep doing.”

Meanwhile there was also Shetland success at this year’s Lantra Scotland Awards, which celebrate land-based training.

Nią Hunter, who works at Scatsta Farm, won four awards – including the overall prize and modern apprentice of the year.

Craig Johnstone won aquaculture learner of the year with Lori Smith anemd runner up in the same section.

Plantiecrub’s Shannon Leask was named runner-up in the horticulture section.

ORKNEY and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael has secured a commitment from ministers not to “claw back” any £200 Alternative Fuel Payment wrongly delivered to households in the isles.

Meanwhile those who believe that they have wrongly been excluded from the payment can now apply manually through through this link. https://www.gov.uk/apply-alternative-fuel-bill-support-if-not-automatic

Constituents in need of support can contact Carmichael’s office by email or phone – alistair.carmichael.mp@parliament.uk and 01595 690044.

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