25th May 2020
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Record year for whitefish landings

A new report from the NAFC Marine Centre says 2017 was a record year for whitefish landings in the isles

According to the annual ‘Shetland Fisheries Statistics’ report, more than 21,000 tonnes of whitefish (species such as cod, haddock, whiting, monks and plaice) worth about £42 million were landed in Shetland in 2017, compared to just under 19,000 tonnes in 2016.

Author of the report, Dr Ian Napier, said that “last year’s landings of whitefish in Shetland exceeded the previous record of 20,700 tonnes which was set in 1972, and it is 30 years since landings last exceeded 20,000 tonnes.”

Whitefish landed in Shetland in 2017 included more than 30 different species, and more than three-quarters of it was landed by local boats.

Overall, the report found, weight of fish landed in Shetland in 2017 was somewhat less than in the previous year, although the overall value was only slightly less.

It said this decline was mainly due to falls in landings of mackerel, which continued to be affected by difficult global market conditions and to a lesser extent landings of queen scallops by visiting fishing boats.

Despite this overall decline, the NAFC said Shetland retained its position as one of the UK’s premier fishing ‘ports’, with more fish and shellfish landed in Shetland than in any other port except Peterhead, and more finfish landed in Shetland than in all of England, Wales and Northern Ireland combined.

Cullivoe in Yell was the 12th ranked UK port for landings of whitefish, Scalloway was 8th and Lerwick 4th.

More in Friday’s Shetland Times


  1. Ali Inkster

    Considering that over 1500 trucks carrying 25 tonnes each left from just one pier in one year in the west coast of Scotland (figures quoted from a planning application to build a new pier). And those same boats are now fishing east of Shetland. It kind of shines a light on how much more could be injected into the local economy if we really did take back control of our fishing industry. As it is the vast majority of fish going through the local market ends up in the hands of the same companies that own the boats currently fishing east of Shetland. So those that say we would not have access to EU markets for our fish should we ban their boats need to answer this, where would the EU get its fish from if not from us? because you can be sure that there only other suppliers are not going to rape their seas beyond sustainability to satisfy the EU. As for UK we will no longer need to buy back the fish from the EU that we currently let them catch in our waters for free.

  2. Peter Hamilton

    Anyone want to thank the CFP for saving these stocks from black landings…? Maybe someone out there feels multilateral cooperation was better than allowing what one J Wills once called “the race to catch the last fish in the sea”.

    • Ali Inkster

      The cfp didn’t save fish stocks from black landings they were the cause of them. And what other country investigated their fleet for this? Only Ireland The Danes Dutch Germans french and Spanish refused to even look to see if it was happening, So much for cooperation to save stocks.

  3. John Tulloch

    Indeed, Ali.

    And it’s distinctly unhelpful that Shetland’s MP and his London party have campaigned flat-out since 24 June 2016 for Britain to remain in the EU and Common FIsheries Policy.

    What we now have is the long-predicted outcome of die-hard Remainer politicians undermining our negotiators by traipsing around Brussels, “colluding with a foreign power” on how best to wreck Brexit and, back home, baying for a second referendum to annul the 2016 democratic decision to leave the EU.

    As a result we face a choice between the frying pan and the fire. Accept May’s “surrender terms” or “crash out” with “No Deal”.

    It seems inconceivable that parliament will ratify the agreement and a May exit/ “No Deal” is now, arguably, the most likely outcome, bringing those Remainers’ chickens, spectacularly, home to roost!

    • Brian Smith

      That must be the MP whom John Tulloch backed to the hilt in the 2017 general election …

      • John Tulloch

        Brian, you are purportedly a professional historian, are you not? I hope you don’t make up your history stories in this cavalier fashion?

        I did not support Alistair Carmichael in 2017. I was dismayed and frankly, profoundly shocked, by his and his party’s (and others’) campaign to overthrow the 2016 “People’s Vote”.

        I did not recommend voting for any candidate however I did campaign against your own preference, the SNP candidate Miriam Brett. My only advice was not to vote for the SNP.

      • Brian Smith

        Consult the Shetland Times of 11 June 2017!

      • Johan Adamson

        Wir Shetland, I thought. Supporting independence for Shetland but not Scotland – but they didnt put up a candidate.

      • Brian Smith

        I see John Tulloch in today’s Shetland News defending “the destructive Brexit being pursued by the Tories”. I don’t think there will be much support for his campaign in Shetland.

    • Ali Inkster

      crash out with no deal? Leaving with no deal is what we voted for we voted to leave the eu, the customs union, the single market and the cfp. Crashing out is a pejorative term used by remoaners to try and deny the democratic vote. It is a term I am surprised to hear you use.

      • John Tulloch

        I see what you mean, Ali. That was why I put “crash out” in quotation marks. My comment was aimed at those who undermined the negotiators and their supporters, so I phrased it in language they would understand.

        For the record, I have no dread whatsoever of “No Deal”.

        Sadly, I hear today that Labour has refreshed its public commitment to thwart any attempt to “walk away” if/when May’s “surrender” bombs in parliament, virtually guaranteeing that any renegotiation will prove fruitless.

        Of course, their objective is to get Corbyn into No10 and if it takes Brexit chaos to achieve that, so be it!

        Party before country, every time!

      • Graham Fleming

        We?,Shetland and the rest of Scotland voted to stay,if England wants to go their own way,fine.We with Northern Ireland must be allowed to vote to stay with our democratic partners within our European Union and nay mair sleekit Westminsteritis!

      • Ali Inkster

        Oh dear Graham is a tad confused, We along with the rest of Scotland voted to remain a part of the UK, the question in 2016 never mentioned scotland as a separate entity because that question had been settled two years earlier. The question was should the UK leave the EU and the answer was yes. Maybe If scotland has another referendum and only dundee and glasgow vote to leave along with say edinburgh and that results in the whole of scotland leaving the UK will Graham be demanding that the rest of scotland be allowed to remain?

      • Graham Fleming

        We,I thought you meant the Shetland isles,as you claim Shetlander as your nationality along with the other less than 1%, who didn’t appear on the last census. NO now your British wanting to separate away from the European Union,just how many separate personas have you got?You really should join the Tory party with 75,000 members each paddling their own wee canoes against the mighty vortex of brexit.Oh dear,they are the ones supposed to be running things not away!

      • Ali Inkster

        You still seem confused Graham Shetland along with the rest of scotland voted to remain in the UK, the UK voted to leave the EU. Nothing too complicated to understand. Scotland is too scared to give the isles a vote on what we whether or not we would like to remain shackled to them. And even if you did you would make us vote again and again until you get the result you wanted

    • Johan Adamson

      How are you so sure Leave is the best option? Politicians with more experience and a world class education cant work it out. As for the fishing we still have to work out a deal with our neighbours whether in or out surely?

      • David Spence

        This is the very point, Johan. This government, I think, has not got a clue in regards to the Fishing Policy and how this will work with other countries. Brexit, does not state anything in regards to British fishing and what deal, if any, is going to be drafted up. At the moment, there is some confusion what deal we are going to get and what deal we can ask for……..it is all up in the air at the moment.

        I fear, like in 1974 under a Tory government, British fishing will be regarded as ‘ expendable ‘ just as they did under the Heath government.

        I also fear what the British fishing industry wants and what they made end up with is as wide as the grand canyon.

        The writing is already on the wall, I fear, and Brexit will only make things worse in terms of negotiating a deal which will leave the British fishing industry worse off under Brexit.

      • Graham Fleming

        The Shetland isles have had ample opportunity to vote for self determination problem is -nobody does vote for it.So why a referendum?
        In the Scottish self government referendum , the European Union issue was brought up on wether or not we would be in that organisation.One of the deciding factors ,Westminster played on was that we definitely would in that organisation.Now just four years later with every area having voted to remain in the E.U and 62% aggregate vote in the Euro referendum,we are heading for the brexit door.With the UKIP leadership resigning en masse,the Tory party resembling a gorgon with numerous heads,the daily express in its polar vortex,ufo, living pyramids mode ,what sensible person is going to take that lot seriously,is it little wonder Tommy Robinson is coming to the fore.Ireland is steaming economically ahead inside the E.U.,Scotland should take its chance now and decide its own European Union future!

  4. David Spence

    As a member of the audience said in Question Time (29/11/2018) ‘ Is the fishing industry in the UK going to be sold down the river again? ‘. In reference to the Heath Government of 1974.

    The Conservative MP more or less said Brexit would bring back the fishing rights they once had, after having negotiations with EU countries, especially France. I am intrigued exactly what those fishing negotiations will be, what will be the quota’s per species, what area’s of the North Sea/Atlantic Ocean will have to be negotiated with other EU countries as well as Norway, Denmark, Faroes, and Iceland.

    If the UK thinks its fishing industry will be better off under Brexit, I have serious doubts about this. There are too many other countries heavily dependent on fishing for the UK, to go back to what was. This will, I think, will never become reality.

    No doubt Ali will correct me on this and say I do not know what I am talking about……….just like the present Government, I hasten to say. There does not appear to be set in stone, what exactly is this governments response to the British fishing industry under Brexit.

  5. John Tulloch

    Thanks, Brian Smith, for highlighting my post-election analysis of Mr Carmichael’s 2017 victory. Which bit did you think was “backing him to the hilt”?

    GIven that 43.5 percent of Shetlanders and 36.7 percent of Orcadians voted to “Leave the EU”, Mr Carmichael would be well-advised to consider its contents. Not least, as an early General Election is likely if May’s “surrender” document, or anything like it, is passed by Parliament.

    Isles tactical voting in 2017 punished the SNP and supported the perceived “less worse” option. However, many people are now deeply unhappy and may well switch their support, punitively, to the SNP and independence. I’ve asked Mr Carmichael on Facebook why they shouldn’t do that but didn’t get a reply.

    • David Spence

      John, can you explain why the Tories had this referendum to do with leaving the EU, and what benefit would it be to the Conservative Party if the people voted to leave? (I do question the validity of our so-called elections and/or referendums for a greater agenda politically).

      Would this agenda have anything to do with the Conservative Party wanting a trade deal with the USA without the interference of the EU???? What benefit would this be to the Conservative Party and who would gain mostly from a trade deal with the USA in the long term?????

      Would this agenda also be to privatize most government responsibilities and duties of care to USA companies, where the Conservatives would benefit as shareholders or on top management of those companies????

      This whole Brexit agenda is purely for the Conservative Party to benefit and not the people of the UK????

      Or is what I am suggesting untrue or pie in the sky or plausible or an element of truth????

  6. John Tulloch


    “Leave the EU” is the ONLY OPTION. Let me explain:

    The referendum was set up by the Remain-supporting UK government on a “once in a generation” basis (NB precedent for EU is 41 years!). No-one disagreed and the leaders of both sides emphasised it during the campaign.

    Alleged drawbacks from leaving the EU were also well-aired, including in a taxpayer-funded government leaflet sent to every UK home.

    About 33 million people turned out to vote, of whom 17.4 million voted to “Leave the EU”.

    Democrats accept that we shall leave the EU on 29th March, 2019 and despise attempts to overthrow the “People’s Vote” of 2016.


    • Johan Adamson

      But if its the wrong decision it is not too late to change it. Better that (be undemocratic) than make a very big economic mistake. And now we know it is possible to reverse.

      Lies were told and it was such a complex decision – too complex for a referendum (too complex for many experts to fathom).

      Better for the fishermen to negotiate a better deal within the EU than without.

    • Johan Adamson

      Not good to become so entrenched that you carry on regardless of common sense and facts getting in the way of a bad decision (rather like VE who will no doubt carry on regardless of the Shetland mega wind farm becoming uneconomic and a bad idea environmentally and practically).

  7. Peter Hamilton

    Sorry John, another referendum now we know about the uncertainties of the supposed deal Theresa would bind us to, would not “overthrow” the previous result. The will of the people does not “overthrow” the will of the people. It merely updates it. Not much for democrats to fear there.

    The public has a right to change its mind or alternatively recommit to an uncertain but definitely costly change likely to lead to what the Atorney General has described as “protracted and repeated rounds of negotiations”.

    The EU isn’t perfect, but as Theresa has said, perfection is the enemy of the good. Yes there are disbenefits for British fishermen in pulled sovereignty, but there are other benefits for us all in being part of a larger pack and not in thral to the generosity of Trump. UK workers would end up sacrificing their rights in a race to the bottom to the benefit of the financiers. That is what has brought us this far, that, stories in the right wing media about straight cucumber directives, fake promises on the side of busses, Russian interference, illegal campaign financing, the dispair caused by austerity and an unhealthy dose of xenphobia and racism.

    • Ali Inkster

      So you will be happy with a deal or no deal referendum or are you after a three way referendum with two leave choices to split the vote? tell us o wise one what is your preferred method of conning the people and overturning the peoples vote?

    • Ali Inkster

      What do we know now we didn’t know before? Before the referendum remain said is was too difficult to leave the eu, but ie project fear. Well we feared not and voted to leave. Since the referendum remain has stepped up project fear while also being in charge of getting us out. We will run out of drinking water if we leave, we will run out of medicine if we leave,the IRA will resume killing if we leave, and so on. Sometimes with democracy you will get a result you don’t like, If you keep making folk vote again until you get the result you want, well that’s not democracy. And when democracy dies so do a lot of innocent people before those that killed democracy are brought to justice. Be careful what you wish for because it will be our children that get the bill. Not something May Merkel Macron Sturgeon etc have to worry about.

      • Graham Fleming

        BUT, the real Shetland voted to remain inside the E.U,so typical the Westminsterites telling untruths again!

  8. Mr ian Tinkler

    Peter and another one in a year or so if we do not like the EU army or the Italian exit or the Greeks leaving? Another one a year or so later because of the French annexing our fishing, again. Round and round in ever decreasing circles till we disappear up our own apexes!!! A bit like the SNP on indy 2, get over it, the people have spoken now let us get on with it. Hard or soft, time to move on.

  9. Peter Hamilton

    Well Ian, there has been an advisory referendum, and it seems parliament is judging it can’t act on the peoples’ advice without damaging the country. First do no harm innit?

    The soft option could result in the UK following the EU rules without helping to set them. The hard one looks like cutting off our nose to spite our face – economically devistating. Doing nothing risks neither and that, it seems, is where the largest single group of voters and parlimentarians are.

    A lot more is now known and understood about the consequences of staying: better growth and the chance to agree trade agreements as part of a powerful block, and leaving: understaffed NHS, no UK fruit and veg. Did we the people actually tell parliament what we want, what we really really want? Either way the little Englander’s war within the Tory party won’t be over ‘til it’s over.

    A fresh election would allow a new parliament to try to find a way forwards. If that then involves a second referendum so be it. For those not yet totally sick of it these are interesting times. The peoples’ will will out, but the times they may be changing.

    • ian tinkler

      Round and round in ever decreasing circles till we disappear up our own apexes!!! So sad if you do not like the result of the first referendum Peter, just how many should we have?

    • Ali Inkster

      You want to stay in the eu that side lost. just as you lost the 2014 referendum, the losing side does not get to tell the winning side what to do, that is a basic of democracy. Something you claim to want for the SCT but refuse to accept for the nation as a whole. It makes your campaign for democracy in the SCT look like it was just bluster no wonder they never took you seriously. After all we now know you only like democracy when the result goes your way. You would get along just fine with a certain Mrs T May

  10. Stuart Hannay

    “In Scotland, foreign companies have been kept at bay but the country’s generous quotas for species such as herring and mackerel have been bought up by a handful of fishing families. Two-fifths of the entire Scottish catch by value, and 65% by tonnage, was landed by 19 powerful super-trawlers in 2016. Small-scale coastal fishermen, who operate 80% of Scottish boats, have to make do with 1% of quotas. Claims by Ukip and others that the British fishing industry has suffered a calamitous decline “because of the CFP” are misleading. The big British fishing companies and the big boats are doing fine. They are now the most prosperous in Europe, with record revenues in 2017 and operating profits averaging 25%.”

    I admit that I find the complexities of the fishing arrangements distinctly confusing. I read the above in the Guardian (11/6/18) and it seems to me there’s a distinct discrimination against small, independently owned boats. I imagine it’s even more exacerbated in Shetland? Would withdrawing from the EU & the CFP help with this?

  11. John Tulloch

    Those calling for a second EU referendum to reverse the 2016 People’s Vote should consider that:

    1. The 2015 Tory government was elected on a pledge to run an EU referendum – just one, no more.
    2. Parliament passed the EU Referendum Act 2015, overwhelmingly. It allows for one referendum, no more.
    3. On 23 June 2016, the UK electorate voted to “Leave the EU”.
    4. In the 2017 General Election, both Labour and Conservatives pledged to implement the result of the 2016 referendum.

    During the campaign the Remain-supporting UK government sent a £9 million taxpayer-funded leaflet to every UK home, advising voters to vote Remain. It detailed a litany of alleged negative consequences of leaving the EU and contained these words in big, bold type:


    It continued:
    “The referendum on Thursday, 23 June is your chance to decide if we should remain in or leave the European Union….


    Politicians, renege on this at your electoral peril.


    • Graham Fleming

      Parliament must stop this dogs breakfast now,and decide through a general election what the people want.Political parties should clearly state in their manifestos what their positions are and candidates made to toe the line.

    • John Tulloch

      By way of completeness, I’ll add the following to my above comment where space/readability didn’t permit:

      Since the 2016 People’s Vote on leaving the EU, Parliament has passed:

      1. The European Union (Notice of Withdrawal) Act 2017, to initiate the leaving process
      2. The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, to repeal the European Communities Act 1972, transfer EU law into UK law and set the date/time for UK exit (11:00 pm, 29th, March 2019).

      It’s a funny kind of democracy that needs another referendum… and then another?

      And having trashed the “once in a generation” standard, how about another Scottish independence referendum? No need to wait 25 years, we can have one every three years from now on, until the SNP gets the result it wants?

      And, of course, if Scots ever vote Yes to independence, we’ll be able to have another referendum to reverse that, too,…won’t we? LOL

      “Fur Goadsake, gie me brakk!”

    • David Spence

      I believe Nicola Sturgeon, asked that there should be independent referendums for leaving the EU, by each member state of the United Kingdom.

      This would have been much fairer than what we had. This being 1 country, England, deciding the fate of 3 other parts of the UK, in terms of voting numbers based on population.

      It was not a democracy, it was one country dictating the result and dismissing what the other parts of the UK voted.

      I believe 62% of Scotland voted to remain, 56% of Northern Ireland voted to remain.

      Wales and England voted to leave.

      Overall, there was only 4% difference between leaving or remaining in the EU.

  12. ian tinkler

    “decide through a general election”. Graham Fleming, we have already done that! “Political parties should clearly state in their manifestos what their positions are “, they have already done that also!! “candidates made to toe the line.” now that is where we all fall down, Grahm Fleming. Now let us get on with it, hard or soft, Graham, quit the endless moaning, the people have already spoken. I go for Boris, at least he has a sense of humour and is so politically incorrect. How refreshing!!!

  13. peter hamilton

    Do Wir Shetlanders really want to impose Brexit on Shetland against Shetland’s stated will?

    • Brian Smith


    • Ali Inkster

      Shetland stated will when asked in 2014 should Scotland be an independent country was for Scotland to remain in the uk. Well luckily for us Scotland voted the same way because we can be sure that had Scotland voted to leave we would have been dragged out of the UK against our will. Those that are demanding Scotland be treated differently to the rest of the UK despite being told in 2014 that Scotland did not want to be treated differently would be the first to deny Shetland or anywhere else north of Berwick be treated differently should the overall vote have gone the other way in 2014.

  14. ian tinkler

    “against Shetland’s stated will”? To use your own words, Peter Hamilton. “The public has a right to change its mind or recommit to an uncertain but definitely costly change” Now only God knows the what view the folk of Shetland have about May’s Brexit deal. Are you speaking for God, Peter, how do you know “Shetlands will” or more precisely the present views of Shetland folk on the Irish border question and May’s forlorn effort? “The peoples’ will will out, but the times they may be changing.” We agree there Peter; perhaps the answer would be an independent Shetland, that way Shetland folk really could and would enforce their views. Incidentally, my opinions are entirely my own only, not those of Wir Shetland.

  15. Haydn Gear

    What’s amusing and refreshing Ian is that you should favour Boris “ because he has a sense of humour and is so politically incorrect”. A man after your own heart without a doubt !! Keep it up.

  16. Peter Hamilton

    Looks like Ian accepts the logic for a second referendum. How does anyone know “the present views of Shetland folk on the Irish border and May’s forlorn effort”?

  17. Stuart Hannay

    On a fish related theme, there was a fight in Frankie’s last night. 2 fish got battered.


Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.