Good end-of-year mackerel fishery for Scottish fleet

Good end-of-year mackerel fishery for Scottish fleet

The Scottish mackerel fleet enjoyed a productive end-of-year fishery, with good sized shoals of fish encountered.

The season started at the beginning of October and ran through to mid-November.  The fishing took place in the North Sea and east of Shetland.  Boats are tied up now waiting on the 2024 quota allocation.  Fishing will likely re-commence at the beginning of January, depending on weather.

The fleet has continued to invest in its infrastructure, with the new Altaire for Shetland delivered earlier this year and the new Christina S becoming operational at the start of the mackerel season. The new Antarctic for Shetland will be delivered next year and the new Sunbeam will be delivered in late 2025 or early 2026. A further two new replacement vessels – Chris Andra and Quantus – have also recently been ordered.

This continuing upgrade of the fleet optimises efficiency and helps reduce carbon footprint during fishing operations, as well as enhancing catch quality through the installation of state-of-the-art onboard fish cooling and handling systems.

Scottish processors continue to increase market share for mackerel in key south-east Asian markets. There is real encouragement among processors that south-east Asian buyers are pleased with the quality of Scottish mackerel and there are signs that this important market will continue to grow.

Meanwhile, work is well underway on Denholm Seafoods major new £30m mackerel and herring processing facility and cold-store upgrade at Peterhead. The investment will deliver an ultra-modern handling and storage system and enable Denholm Seafoods to increase its daily freezing capacity and boost cold storage capacity to 19,000 tonnes.

In tandem with the new cold-store, the existing processing facility will be refurbished with the installation of a sophisticated and highly automated turnkey processing system designed and supplied by Skaginn 3x, part of the Baader group. The new project will result in increased efficiencies, enhanced product quality and a lower carbon footprint.

North Bay Pelagic is also undertaking major investment into the local fishing sector with a cold-store upgrade that will significantly increase capacity.

Lerwick Port Authority announced earlier this year it is to undertake a major land reclamation project, to accommodate future expansion by the pelagic fish processing sector. Work to reclaim approximately 4,000 square metres of new industrial land at Arlanda East, adjacent to Pelagia Shetland’s factory, has already begun. It will enable the pelagic sector to expand its processing capability, encouraging higher landings and increasing exports.