A Shetland shellfish company is expanding its operations and becoming more environmentally friendly. East Voe Shellfish Ltd is moving all its mussel despatch activities to a new purpose-built facility. Part funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and the European Fisheries Fund, the £283,500 expansion will create two new jobs with the company.
East Voe Shellfish Ltd is a family-run business formed in 2002. It began by producing rope-grown mussels at East Voe, Scalloway and in 2009 the company bought another two sites in Lang Sound between Trondra and Burra.
The expansion will see the company constructing a new pier and despatch building at East Voe, purchase of additional production equipment, a flake ice machine and a pick up truck to transport mussels to the mainland ferry. The site will also accommodate a staff canteen and changing facilities.
Until January 2009, East Voe Shellfish Ltd leased a section of the Scalloway Fish Market in which to despatch mussels to customers. Due to increased fish landings and Scalloway, the business was forced to vacate the premises and transport mussels on a 50-mile round trip to another despatch facility.
Once complete, mussels from all seven of the company's production sites will be taken to the new site by boat, reducing transportation costs and resulting in lower carbon emissions.
Rachel Hunter from HIE, said: "According to a recent Scottish Government report, mussel consumption in the UK is increasing while production levels are falling across Europe. There is an obvious opportunity for East Voe Shellfish to fill this gap. As well as improving efficiency and productivity, having the business contained on one site will have environmental benefits across the community. "
Kenny Pottinger from East Voe Shellfish Ltd said: "We are members of the Shetland Shellfish Growers Association, part of the industry body Seafood Shetland. Our expansion will help us to promote Shetland mussels in order to compete with growers in Ireland, France and Belgium. Having to handle and transport our mussels in an inefficient manner was not economically viable in the long term and this new facility will help us take advantage on new opportunities for our products."
East Voe Shellfish Ltd hope to have the new facility completed in late 2011.