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so much to sea

'So Much To Sea' roadshow a great success


The spring ‘So Much to Sea’ roadshow of community events has been hailed as a great success with over 1,200 people enjoying the evenings and discovering more about Shetland’s seafood industry.

The roadshow has been taking place over the last two months at a variety of community hall locations throughout the isles, ranging from Bigton to Cullivoe.

The events coincided with the local halls’ fish and chip nights and included a colourful seafood exhibition, a film which captured the essence of the industry today, and some very popular seafood tastings. Local schools also participated, many putting on a mini sea-themed concert as well as providing some eye-catching and creative artwork.

Speaking about the events, chief executive of Seafood Shetland, Ruth Henderson said: “The aim of the events was to put the Shetland seafood industry in the spotlight and build awareness of its social and economic impact on the islands. We hoped that by taking the message out into the communities that we would achieve a wide coverage - but we have been absolutely delighted by the response. The support from local people has been evident in the attendance figures with many travelling from near and far to find out, learn more and support this important industry.

“The seafood tastings in particular proved especially popular and I’m very grateful to both James Martin and Marian Armitage for agreeing to join us and cook up such delicious treats, which included dishes using mussels, salmon, monkfish, scallops, gurnard and squid. It has been heartening to see folk tasting Shetland seafood that they’ve never tried before and asking for the recipes to take home. The bairns seemed especially adventurous and loved the mussel and scallop dishes.”

“People have been surprised to learn just how valuable the Shetland seafood industry is. With a value of £300 million a year to the islands, it surpasses the value of the oil, gas, agriculture, tourism and creative industries combined. We also wanted to raise awareness of the people and the communities who are integral to its success and inject a sense of pride into the work that goes on both at sea and on land. This is a thriving and hugely significant industry which has a wonderful future, and we are delighted to be increasing people’s awareness through the So Much to Sea initiative.

“We are extremely grateful to all the hall committees and schools for being so helpful and accommodating. It was fantastic to be met by such enthusiastic, happy folk – and they worked incredibly hard in the kitchens producing endless suppers for a larger crowd than originally anticipated.”

Lynn Thomson from the Cullivoe Hall committee said: "We had a brilliant night and it was great to see so many people come out, and stay out. We did really well on the suppers and the bar, but for me, the highlight was having so many folk in the hall and club room, all having an enjoyable and sociable evening. The So Much to Sea event was a big draw – and people have been talking about it for many days after the event.”

Other So Much to Sea initiatives will continue into the summer. Many schools throughout the isles are getting involved through creative arts, home economics, history or science-related projects. An exhibition of a selection of school students’ work will be displayed at Shetland Museum and Archives in June. This will be part of a wider celebration of Shetland seafood, to coincide with Shetland Catch’s 25th anniversary.

The project has received funding through Axis 4, as part of the European Fisheries Fund (EFF). Matching funding has been provided by Seafood Shetland, Shetland Shellfish Management Organisation, Shetland Fish Producers' Organisation, Shetland Aquaculture Trust, and Hunter and Morrison Trust.

For further information, please contact: Ruth Henderson, Seafood Shetland, tel: +44 (0)1595 693644 or email: ruth@fishuk.net
Or, Isabel Johnson, Shaw Marketing and Design Ltd, tel: +44 (01595) 692465 or email: isabel.johnson@shaw-online.com