Seven more people appeared in private at Lerwick Sheriff Court this week in connection with a massive investigation into illegal landings at pelagic fish factory Shetland Catch.
Antares skipper Laurence Irvine, 64, of Whalsay, appeared with Research skippers Gary Williamson, 50, and William Williamson, 63, before Sheriff Graeme Napier on Wednesday.
Also in the dock were co-owner of the Whalsay boat Adenia, George Henry, 58, of Bixter, Antarctic skipper John Stewart, 55, and crewman Colin Leask, 37, of Whalsay.
The skipper of the Fraserburgh boat Kings Cross, Alexander Masson, 64, of Fraserburgh also appeared.
All seven appeared on charges of fraud and none of the men made any pleas or declarations. They were committed for further examination before being released on bail.
Their appearance brings to 17 the number of men facing charges in connection with fraudulent landings at the massive processing plant.
In January the company’s managing director, Simon Leiper, of South Whiteness, appeared alongside his predecessor Derek Leask of Weisdale. Both were charged with fraud and defeating the ends of justice.
Charisma skipper David Hutchison, Zephyr skippers John Irvine and Allister Irvine, and skipper of the Fraserburgh-registered Enterprise, Victor Buschini, were charged with fraud. Mr Buschini was also charged with attempted fraud.
Within two weeks another four men had appeared – Whalsay fishermen Bobby Polson, Thomas Eunson and Allen Anderson, who all work on board the trawler Serene, were also charged with being involved in the alleged landings. Enterprise co-skipper Hamish Slater also appeared.
The extent of the investigation was sparked following a police raid at the premises in 2005. The charges mean seven of the eight boats in the Shetland pelagic fleet have become embroiled in the investigation – with the Altaire the only boat not coming under scrutiny.