Lerwick Port Authority today announced its biggest investment to date in a construction project to benefit the fishing and oil sectors.
The construction of a new jetty at Holmsgarth North will cost a total of £16.5 million and local company Tulloch Developments Ltd has been appointed main contractor.
The new L-shaped jetty will provide deeper berthing and more working area for the fishing fleet. The outer arm of the L-shape will create a dock sheltering a planned new whitefish market at Mair’s Yard. It will also be suitable for berthing offshore industry vessels.
Site set-up at Holmsgarth North will start before Christmas and the main works will start in the new year, with completion in autumn 2016. Construction is expected to employ up to 50 people.
The design of the jetty is by civil engineers Arch Henderson LLP and they will also project manage the construction. The jetty will extend to 800 metres, equivalent to about half a mile, with ultimately 10 metres of water depth alongside.
Lerwick Port Authority chief executive Sandra Laurenson said: “The jetty will be a significant addition to our resources and another example of our versatile facilities. While principally benefiting the fishing industry, it will also serve the offshore sector, underlining our commitment to both.
“The latest step towards a new whitefish market, Holmsgarth North will reinforce both Lerwick’s future as a leading UK fishing port and the sector’s key contribution to the Shetland economy.”
News of the development has been welcomed by Shetland Fishermen’s Association.
SFA chairman Leslie Tait said: “Today’s announcement of the biggest investment ever made by Lerwick Port Authority in Shetland’s fishing sector is a huge vote of confidence in the industry.
“Fishing and aquaculture account for a third of the Shetland economy, and the scale of the work that will be undertaken underlines just how important the industry is in providing jobs and income.
“The additional shelter provided by the new quay will be welcomed by the fleet and the advent of the new fish market at Mair’s Yard will transform Lerwick into one of the most advanced fishing ports in the UK.
“In addition to the 50 jobs that will be created through the construction work, the investment will also be a major boost to the local fishing industry as well as the oil and gas supply chain on the island, supporting future jobs and economic growth.”
The development is being supported by funding from Bank of Scotland and spokesman David Nicolson said: “These improvements to Lerwick Harbour will provide a significant boost to the Shetland economy and Bank of Scotland is delighted to be investing in such an important project.”
During construction of Holmsgarth North, the fishing industry will use Mair’s Quay as the berthing area for net repair and working on gear. The quay, which has brought a range of benefits to the fleet, was completed last year and will be the site for the new market, due to begin construction in early 2016.