Steady herring landings as the processing sector invests in the future

Steady herring landings as the processing sector invests in the future

The North Sea herring fishery by the Scottish pelagic fleet is progressing well with the main activity on grounds around 50 miles north-east of Fraserburgh.

Against this background of the fleet busy at sea, processors onshore are playing their role in ensuring that the catch is handled and marketed in the most efficient manner possible, with three pelagic processors either engaged in, or shortly embarking upon, major upgrades to ensure the provision of state-of-the-art facilities.

As part of the UK Seafood Fund, £5 million was recently awarded to Northbay Pelagic in Peterhead for the upgrade of its processing facility and new equipment to increase capacity by up to 35,000 tonnes a year.

Meanwhile, Lerwick Port Authority has announced it is to undertake another major land reclamation project, this time to accommodate future expansion by the pelagic fish processing sector.

The initiative, costing just over £601,000, has received £450,759 in grant from the UK Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) under round two of its UK Seafood Fund Infrastructure Scheme, with funding of over £150,250 from the Port Authority.

Work to reclaim approximately 4,000 square metres of new industrial land at Arlanda East, adjacent to Pelagia Shetland’s factory, will begin this summer. It will enable the pelagic sector to expand its processing capability in later phases of development, encouraging higher landings and increasing exports.

Work is also well underway on a major new £30m mackerel and herring processing facility and cold-store upgrade for Denholm Seafoods in Peterhead, which will result in increased efficiencies, enhanced product quality and a lower carbon footprint.

The investment – the largest ever undertaken by a wild-caught fish processing company in Scotland – will deliver a state-of-the-art fish handling and storage system, which will benefit the Scottish pelagic fleet and provide opportunities to develop new markets.