Serco NorthLink Ferries hosts Seafood Group aboard Hjaltland

Wednesday 19th March 2014

Today (Wednesday, 19 March) saw Serco NorthLink Ferries host the Stewart Building Transport Group’s quarterly meeting on board their rebranded MV Hjaltland.

Meetings of the Group – comprising Shetland-based seafood organisations and industry stakeholders – provide an opportunity for those involved in the seafood sector to receive a regular update on freight performance, ferry operations and other relevant areas affecting them, as well as the opportunity to supply feedback to Serco NorthLink Ferries.

Stuart Garrett, Managing Director at Serco NorthLink and an attendee, said: “We were delighted to host this meeting on board our newly rebranded Hjaltland in Lerwick.

“The seafood sector is of utmost importance to the islands and the external ferry service, accounting for 41% of all trailer exports from Shetland last year and a massive £300 million for the local economy annually. Subsequently, we value the time we spend with the Group as we discuss this sustainable and ever evolving industry.”

Members were updated on a variety of good news stories, including the fact that there was a 36% increase in seafood volumes shipped in January and February this year compared to last year, despite severe weather conditions and the dry dock timetable. Also, salmon continues to be, by far, the largest single export with volumes up 65% during this same period compared to last year.

Ruth Henderson, who co-ordinates the Stewart Building Transport Group and Chief Executive of Seafood Shetland, added: “It is often difficult for those not directly involved in the seafood sector to appreciate its actual value, but Serco NorthLink Ferries’ statistics speak for themselves.  Shetland continues to be the UK’s second largest destination for landing white fish – it accounts for 25% of all UK-produced salmon, 69% of Scotland’s mussel production, as well as being home to a very important inshore wild shellfish fishery.”

Stewart Building Transport Group members on board the MV Hjaltland at Holmsgarth in Lerwick included –

Stuart Garrett – Serco NorthLink Ferries
Jim Dowie – Serco NorthLink Ferries
Gordon Johnson – QA Fish, Scalloway
Hamish Balfour – Shetland Transport
Carole Laignel – Shetland Shellfish Management Organisation
David Sandison – Shetland Aquaculture
Michael Craigie – Shetland Islands Council/ZetTrans
Michael Stout – Shetland Islands Council/ZetTrans
Neil Leslie – Northwards
Thelma Georgeson – Grieg Seafood Hjaltland
Brian Pottinger, Shetland Fish Products, Bressay
Ruth Henderson – Seafood Shetland
Kris Bevan – Serco NorthLink Ferries
Cheryl Fox – Serco NorthLink Ferries