so much to sea

First national herring boom - 1830s-1880s


Local merchants begin to realise that the shoals primarily fished by the Dutch around Bressay Sound each year are worth investing in and a decent sized fleet of 'half deckers' is built up.

1838 - 1840s

Bad weather destroys boats, nets and moorings, and this, combined with the collapse of The Shetland Bank, which financed it– affects the herring industry - and hundreds are out of work.

1820s - 1880s

For the first time Shetland fishermen are thinking beyond the bounds of their own technology and adopting new, non-Shetland, decked, safer and larger boats, allowing them to travel further distances and also increase the size of the catch.
Cotton net has also been developed; nets are now lighter and better made, which means the boats are able to carry more onboard and potentially increase the catch.