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Shetland News

July 2002

Massive Expansion at the Catch

Less than one year after the completion of a 11 million expansion at Shetland Catch, Europe's largest pelagic fish processor has decided to go even bigger.

As the pelagic processing plant at Gremista presently attracts more business than it can handle, Shetland Catch has drawn up plans of a massive factory expansion programme to accommodate a 30,000 tonne automated high bay cold store facility and an additional factory facility on the quayside, embracing the latest innovative freezing and packing technology.

The announcement of the expansion that will dwarf the existing 11,000 tonne cold store comes in the middle of an ongoing 4 million building programme, which will see the completion of a new office block and staff facilities by autumn.

General manager Derek Leask said: "Our location at the heart of Europe's mackerel fishing grounds means that, even with our recent expansion, we are still turning away fish. We see the project as grasping the additional business potential and complimenting the significant re-investment of the Shetland pelagic fishing fleet in their new state-of-the-art vessels."

The 35 million expansion would be subject to a huge land reclamation exercise and the provision of a deep-water quay facility currently being investigated by Lerwick Port Authority, one of the main share holders of Shetland Catch.

Deputy chief executive of Lerwick Port Authority, Sandra Laurenson said: "Initial investigations have started into the possibility of reclaiming land in front of the Shetland Catch site. A seabed survey is currently underway and discussions have been held with neighbouring businesses. The project is at a very early stage and subject to a substantial investment from Lerwick Port Authority."

Mr Leask added: "Provided we can acquire all the necessary building and planning consents, we would envisage that our part of the project could be completed within three years increasing our processing capacity from 800 to around 2,000 tonnes per day."

Mr Leask said that on completion between 10 and 15 new permanent jobs and between 40 and 50 seasonal jobs would be created.

Shetland Catch has recorded pre-tax profits of 3.6 million for the last year. The turnover increased 76% on the previous year from 24.4 million to 43.1 million.