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Seafood has long played a significant role in shaping Shetland. Today, we minimise risk with state-of-the-art fishing vessels and equipment. By contrast, our forebears were more vulnerable, exposed to the same harsh weather conditions of today, but with only the most basic of boats and tackle. It was a hard and often dangerous life, which could lead to disaster, the results of which still impact on some of our communities today.

New scallop boats added to Shetland fleet Two new scallop boats were added to the Shetland shellfish fleet in 2015. The 13.27m Askari (BA17), based in Walls, was purchased from southwest Scotland. A second...
Hi-tech hatchery opens to support aquaculture A large-scale £15 million salmon smolts hatchery in Girlsta, owned by the Shetland branch of fish farming company Grieg Seafoods, provides 14 new jobs and means...
End of the Haaf fishing - 1900s Fishing had always been a risky business and accidents were common, but with the added pressure of debt, the crew often took dangerous risks to stay out at sea. There were...
Cod smacks: artificial beaches - 1820s-1880s The cod fishing in Faroe and Iceland, from the 1820s-1880s, was a hugely important summer fishery for Shetland, with the fish being brought back for drying, before...
Herring boom: key factors 1880s-1820s 1886 The Crofters’Act was introduced. Lairds were less controlling and crofters became owner occupiers, which meant fishermen could choose to go to the herring...
WW1 1914-1918 War breaks out. The German and Russian fishing markets are closed, curers go bankrupt, and life is thrown into chaos. Fishermen are drafted out to the Royal Navy.
Severe economic depression in Shetland 1919-1939 Coal prices went up which meant that steam drifters could no longer operate economically. Fishermen started looking into paraffin or oil engines and converting sailboats...