Boost for Whalsay as factory is set to re-open

The fish factory in Whalsay is set to reopen again under newly-formed company Norpak.

The business has been formed by brothers Angus and Ivor Johnson of Vidlin with former employee David Leask joining them as managing director.

The factory, at Symbister, 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.

Mr Leask said that Norpak’s business plan will complement the existing harvesting service provided to the fish farming industry by the Johnson’s other company, Island Innovations. Norpak will be recruiting and undertaking improvement works at the factory over the next month and aims to start processing in July.

The company’s main customer is currently Meridian Salmon Group. A representative of Meridian said: “We are fully supportive of the Whalsay project with a view that it will create additional employment in the rural areas of Shetland and will be operated in addition to our main processing plant based in Yell.”


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