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Business / Pelagia planning expansion to meet demand for high quality fish

Pelagia's Shetland Catch plant with the reclaimed Arlanda area in the foreground. Photo: Shetland News

NORWEGIAN fish processor Pelagia is looking to expand its Shetland Catch plant with a new cold store as well as quay facilities including container handling.

The pelagic fish processor hopes to start building the new cold store on a 4,000 square metre area of land reclaimed at Arlanda later this year.

However, Pelagia and Lerwick Port Authority (LPA) are also looking at reclaiming more land with the aim of further improving harbour facilities for the processing plant.

LPA chief executive Calum Grains said it was very early days but confirmed that both parties were involved in talks with a view to instigating further development at the Arlanda area of the harbour.

When contacted by Shetland News, Pelagia chief executive Egil Magne Haugstad confirmed the company was planning to expand the reclaimed area even further to make space for production and container handling.

“We intend to increase the activity with also a new cold store, but we are waiting for the answer from the Crown to expand the area further into the seabed which will allow us together with LPA to develop a new quay side and area for production and container handling,” he said.

“There is an existing quay at Gremista which is being used but it is quite an old structure, and I would expect a more modern and probably larger quayside in the same area,” Grains added.

He said the port was already moving containers for Pelagia at Gremista but also at the Greenhead Base, and if more of that work could be done closer to the factory then the process would become more efficient.

These possible developments come on the back of high global demand for pelagic fish.

Mackerel exports from Scotland to Far Eastern country have more than doubled in both volume and value between 2021 and 2022, and Pelagia Shetland is playing a big part in this growth.

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Japan is a key market in all of this and thanks to the quality and freshness of the product discerning buyers from that country are now procuring mackerel on a regular basis from the Pelagia Shetland processing facility in Lerwick.

As well as Japan, other important markets for mackerel include other parts of the Far East and in eastern Europe, including Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria.

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