One of Scotland’s leading producers of mussels which have been classed “the best in the world” by a celebrity chef, is investing in an upgrade with the support of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
Blueshell Mussels Ltd, based at Brae in Shetland, is the UK’s largest rope-grown mussel farmer. In 2008, well known chef Jean-Christophe Novelli visited Shetland and raved about the quality of mussels from Blueshell.
The company has now acquired the assets of Shetland Norse Preserving Company (SNPC), a long standing crab processor in Yell. As part of its expansion plans, Blueshell is moving operations to a crab factory at Ronas Voe, Northmavine.
This is a significant investment for Blueshell Mussels Ltd and will broaden its product range which already includes mussels and scallops. The project will support employment in the fragile rural communities of Yell and Northmavine.
Michael Laurenson, Managing Director of Blueshell Mussels Ltd, commented: “Providing and protecting sustainable local employment within the Shetland shellfish industry is a key objective of our family business, whilst safeguarding an important local crab processing operation: having operated for two generations SNPC was at risk of relocating outside of Shetland as the owners were looking to retire. The acquisition and integration also provides new opportunities through synergies and having a facility with high care processing capabilities.”
Alan Muir, Co Pack Purchasing Manager John West Foods added “We have enjoyed a 40 year relationship with SNPC who supply us exclusively with our unique Dressed Crab and Dressed Lobster products. We are very much looking forward to continuing our close relationship with the new ownership. We believe it is very important that it has remained in local hands.”
HIE is supporting the investment with £150,000 towards the upgrade of the crab factory.
HIE’s Development Manager Elaine Jamieson said: “We are delighted to support the growth of Blueshell Mussels Ltd and the development of a significant industry in some of our fragile communities. The company has extensive experience in the aquaculture sector and have grown their business with excellent results. The grant will support the company to fit out and upgrade the factory to a quality food grade standard. ”