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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.

Technological innovation 1950s-1960s Radar and echo-location was introduced to the fleet, improving safety at sea and the fish catching process. There were many advancements in terms of boats, gear and...
Lobster fishery expanding - 1960s There is a dearth of haddock and so whitefish fishermen turn to lobster.
The salmon years - 1975 onwards 1974 Zetland County Council Act (ZCC) – this gave the new Shetland Islands Council full control over the seas around Shetland – which proved to be integral...
Purse seiners and policy 1970s-1980s Scandinavian purse seiners arrived in Shetland and, soon after, local crews start investing in this new net technology. This rapidly replaces the less efficient drift...
Pelagic processing expands - 1989 Pelagic fish processing plant, Shetland Catch, opened with investment from Shetland Islands Council, Shetland Fishermen’s Organisation and Lerwick Harbour Trust (now...
Mussel raft trials 1975-1982 The Highland and Island Development Board encouraged the development from 1975, and several experimental mussel rafts are deployed at sites around Shetland, including Ronas...
Mussel innovation and growth It wasn’t until the mid to late 90s that mussel farming started to gather some momentum. With the knowledge gained from the trials, several entrepreneurial companies...
Hanseatic League 15th-17th century Shetlanders traded their salt fish, and other goods, through the Hanseatic League of German merchants, in exchange for salt, cloth, spirits and hard currency.