A mussel growing business based on the island of Yell in Shetland has recently purchased a new mussel harvesting workboat and specialist sorting equipment.
C & A Thomason Ltd has operated successfully since 1998 growing, harvesting and packing mussels. Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is investing £22,200 in the company which will secure a larger European Fisheries Fund grant and will help retain and create jobs.
The company has a had a strong performance over recent years but now needs to develop new mussel sites at Copister in South Yell to maintain their ambitious growth plans.
C & A Thomason mussels are supplied solely to the wholesale market in the UK.
Mussels grown in Shetland account for 65 percent of the Scottish supply and tend to be 20 percent larger due to the clean water and strong tides.
The workboat will be built and commissioned this year and aims to enter service next year. It will boost the company’s turnover by around 30 percent over the next three years.
Christopher Thomason, Managing Director, said: “We are delighted to have secured grant funding from HIE to further enhance and develop our business. The new harvesting vessel and equipment will make operations more efficient and increase mussel production. This is vital for ensuring job security and creation in an island community like Yell, which is remote and fragile.”
David Priest, Development Manager with HIE, said: “C & A Thomason are very important to the shellfish part of the food and drink industry in Scotland, the new work boat will help the increase production, turnover and jobs based in Yell and this will be a useful boost to the local economy.”
C & A Thomason plans to retain three full time staff and create another three part-time jobs within the fragile economic area.