Mismanaged of Shetland ferry services are costing island communities this week forced the closure of Shetland fish markets on Thursday
Disruption to freight sailings this week has forced the closure of Shetland’s fish markets on Thursday, preventing up to 2000 boxes of fish from being dispatched to customers across the UK and Europe.
Reacting to the news, Shetland Fishermen’s Association has condemned the Scottish Government’s failure to build resilience into the ferry network serving the Northern Isles.
Executive Officer Sheila Keith said: “Transport Scotland has been warned about the fragility of our freight service for years, and the embarrassing lack of contingency options regularly causes problems for seafood producers. Shetland’s reputation for quality fish has been built on freshness and continuity of supply. Breakdowns and other issues will arise in any service, but Shetland seafood producers – and their customers – pay the price for this lack of resilience time and time again.”
The one-day closure of Shetland’s fish markets will inhibit whitefish exports with an estimated value in excess of £200,000, with no guarantee from the Scottish Government as to when full freight services will be restored.
With fish, large construction projects, livestock, aquaculture, and other industries all competing for limited freighter space – plus a busy tourism season limiting any freight space on passenger ferries – this lack of resilience will continue to hamper the isles’ economy.
“Shetland is vital to all of the Scottish Government’s ambitious targets for seafood production and export. The isles are ready to help deliver on those ambitions, but – frustratingly – Transport Scotland is not.”
Source: Press Release