There was good news for the seafood industry this week with the announcement that a Shetland based shellfish producer has won a major contract with a Belgian supermarket.
Isle of Shuna, which has mussel farms in the Western Isles as well as a processing and packing facility in Walls, signed the six figure deal with supermarket chain Delhaize after the company came to them.
Delhaize is understood to have been impressed with the company’s almost year-round continuity of rope grown mussel production.
Managing director Donny Gillies said: “This is excellent news for the Scottish seafood industry. It emphasises what we have always known, that fresh Scottish shellfish is the best in the world.”
As the national dish of Belgium, the country is Europe’s top mussel market in per capita terms.
Mr Gillies continued: “Supply-ing Belgium with mussels may seem a bit like selling snow to the Eskimos, but our rope grown mussels are more environmentally friendly and sustainable than dredged mussels.”
The mussels at the Walls site, which employs five people, are produced by local company Demlane under its parent company Isle of Shuna.
The Walls plant operates a modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) system, meaning the mussels are as fresh on arrival as they were when harvested at the seahore.
Last week it was announced that the company was to receive a grant of £500,000 form the European Fisheries Fund.
The money will be used on upgrading the site’s cooking facilities and allowing the company to launch a new range of special mussel products based on “innovative” new recipes. It will also create 10 new jobs at the factory in Walls.