Blow for Whalsay as Norpak fish factory closes with loss of 26 jobs
The Norpak fish factory in Whalsay has closed with the loss of 21 full-time and five part-time jobs.
The business was formed just under a year ago by brothers Angus and Ivor Johnson of Vidlin with former employee David Leask joining them as managing director.
Norpak lost three months of production when cages owned by its main supplier Meridian Salmon off Unst were blown away in a gale just before Christmas, but difficulties getting its produce out of Whalsay on the ferry and the lack of space in Symbister harbour for its own workboat to export fish have also been blamed for the company’s decision to cease trading.
Staff were told on Monday of the decision, which is a major blow to the island.
The Symbister factory was previously owned by Frank Johnson and three other leaders of the fishing industry as part as part of Aberdeen-based company SCAF, but closed in October 2010.
A combination of factors including a very cold winter and an outbreak of infectious salmon anaemia (ISA) left the company struggling to turn its business around, despite a loan of £725,000 from the SIC’s economic development unit in July 2010.