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Also in the news / ‘Wintering wild and well’, foodbank donation, AquaShip merger, first hybrid feed barge

The new Sumburgh Head lookout. Photo: RSPB

RSPB Shetland is launching a ‘Wintering Wild and Well’ programme next month to encourage people to kick off the new year connecting with the nature around them.

The charity’s Shetland manager Helen Moncrieff said the series of events would hopefully help boost the health and wellbeing of the local community by strengthening personal connections to nature over the winter months.

“There have been many studies showing the role nature has in supporting our mental and physical health,” she said.

“We want to help people deepen their connection with nature and through doing so, that helps us deepen our connection with ourselves, place and community.

Moncrieff continued: “We know how a Shetland winter can make us feel so we thought we’d help folk tune into the wildlife and seasons of Shetland, and hopefully provide a foundation to build on throughout the year.”

A calendar of events will be published early in the New Year.

COMPANIES working on SSEN Transmission’s Kergord to Gremista electricity link have made a £1,500 donation to Shetland Foodbank to help purchase emergency food and household items for families most in need during the festive season.

The joint donation came from the SSEN Transmission, Morgan Sindall Infrastructure and NorPower project teams.

SSEN Transmission deputy project director Ian Clark said the project team wanted to give something back to the local community.

“The Shetland Foodbank is such a vital lifeline to families most in need, not just at this time of year, and we hope that our donation from the whole project team will help the foodbank to provide some extra items and comforts to people who need it most,” he said.

AQUACULTURE services company AquaShip, which has a base in Shetland, and rivals Intership have merged with the help of American Industrial Partners (AIP), a US-based investment fund which also has become the new company’s controlling shareholder.

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AquaShip was formed only five years ago when local entrepreneurs Ivor and Angus Johnson of Johnsen Marine merged their company with Norwegian firm Gripship AS.

The new company is said to be one of the largest, most diversified aqua service vessel operators globally with a fleet of 39 vessels and nearly 700 employees in Chile, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada and Norway.

AquaShip chief executive Sverre Taknes said: “We are pleased to bring in AIP as a strategic partner and majority owner of the new combined company.

“We believe we have a unique platform, combining AquaShip’s recognised competencies across multiple vessel types and local hands-on experience in several regions with Intership’s renowned expertise in live fish carriers.”

COOKE Aquaculture has deployed its first hybrid feed barge in Shetland to further reduce its carbon footprint.

The new hybrid system, built by Fjord Maritime UK, for the Copister salmon farm site in Yell, is the third to be implemented by Cooke .

In 2019, Cooke reviewed barge power to explore alternative sources of power supply to the company’s seawater sites in Orkney and Shetland.

The hybrid system reduces fuel consumption, carbon dioxide emissions and extends the life of the generator and equipment by using the residual capacity from the generator to charge the batteries.

Cooke’s Copister site manager Arnold Brown said: “Here at sea, we raise our fish with care, and that includes ensuring we are using the latest technology to sustainably feed them.

“Yell was one of six islands chosen as part of the Scottish Government’s Carbon Neutral Islands scheme and hybrid barges will contribute its ambition to make the whole country net zero by 2045.”

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