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Marine / Less fish landed in Shetland

Fish landings in the first six months of the year have dropped significantly. Photo Shetland News

WHITEFISH landings at both of Shetland’s fish markets have dropped significantly over the first six months of the year, but there are hopes that boats will be able to catch up during the second part of 2024.

More than 500 boxes fewer per week – 156,794 in total so far – have been landed between January and June this year compared with the same period in 2023.

According to Norma Williamson of Shetland Seafood Auction the amount of fish landed at the two ports is expected to grow to 415,000 boxes by the end of in 2024.

Daniel Lawson of the Shetland Fishermen’s Association said there are a number of reasons why fish markets have seen a somewhat slower start to the year.

“The local whitefish fleet is still catching up after major weather disruption all through the first half of the year, plus a few significant and lengthy breakdowns,” he said.

“When you add in the sad loss of the Opportune, plus freight ferry disruption and uncertainty putting off fishing activity, then that would account for any shortfall in landings compared to last year.

“Quotas are managed on an annual basis: so – where the first half of a year has been disrupted like this – boats will hope to make up the difference through the remainder of the year.”

Expectations for a boom in fish landings at Shetland ports have been high following Brexit and the UK becoming an independent coastal state.

Both fish markets, the council owned Scalloway facility and Lerwick Port Authority’s market at Mair’s Quay, are built to a size that can handle well above what is being landed currently.

This article was largely researched by Anderson High pupil Bowie Gray as part of the school’s news project.

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