ONE of Scotland’s leading producers of mussels has taken over a crab processing plant on the Shetland island of Yell as part of its expansion plans in a major boost for the fragile island community, it was announced today.
The rope-grown mussels, produced by Blueshell Mussels Ltd, based at Brae in Shetland, have been hailed as “the best in the world” by a celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli.
The company today revealed that, with the support of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, it has now acquired the assets of the Shetland Norse Preserving Company (SNPC), a long standing crab processor in Yell. And, as part of its expansion plans, Blueshell is moving operations to a crab factory at Ronas Voe, Northmavine.
A spokeswoman for HIE said: “This is a significant investment for Blueshell Mussels Ltd and will broaden its product range which already includes mussels and scallops. The project will support employment in the fragile rural communities of Yell and Northmavine.”
Michael Laurenson, managing director of Blueshell Mussels, said: “Providing and protecting sustainable local employment within the Shetland shellfish industry is a key objective of our family business, whilst safeguarding an important local crab processing operation.
“Having operated for two generations SNPC was at risk of relocating outside of Shetland as the owners were looking to retire. The acquisition and integration also provides new opportunities through synergies and having a facility with high care processing capabilities.”
HIE is supporting the investment with £150,000 towards the upgrade of the crab factory.
Elaine Jamieson, HIE’s development manager, said: “We are delighted to support the growth of Blueshell Mussels Ltd and the development of a significant industry in some of our fragile communities. The company has extensive experience in the aquaculture sector and have grown their business with excellent results. The grant will support the company to fit out and upgrade the factory to a quality food grade standard. ”