Expectations of steady growth in landings in Shetland have prompted investment in new equipment at the fish markets in Lerwick and Scalloway.
Economic development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), which is chipping in £17,715 towards the project, said it would create four full-time equivalent jobs.
Shetland Seafood Auctions (SSA) runs the two fish markets.
SSA is investing in additional landing and weighing equipment, as well as better working conditions.
This will double handling capacity at both locations, while also improving shore-side servics and staff welfare.
The investment and funding will provide improved working conditions, safer working practices and a more attractive place to work.”
Norma Williamson, sales and marketing manager for the operator, said: “SSA is forecasting steady growth in fish landings over the next three years.
“HIE’s funding gives us the opportunity to invest in new equipment to ensure the continuation of shore-based services to the white-fish vessels.
“This will match this anticipated growth, in both Lerwick and Scalloway markets.
“The investment and funding will provide improved working conditions, safer working practices and a more attractive place to work.
Catherine Hawick, development manager for HIE’s Shetland team, said: “The fish catching sector remains a significant and growing contributor to the Shetland economy.
“We are pleased to support this project, which will enable SSA to further develop onshore services. With new fish markets in Lerwick and Scalloway substantially increasing daily landing capacity, it is essential that onshore services are improved to meet the demands of the fishing industry.”
The islands are in the heart of rich and diverse fishing grounds.
More than half of all the fish landed in the UK comes from within 100 nautical miles of Shetland.
SSA operates a modern electronic auction system, selling around 300 tons of fresh white-fish every week.
Shetland fish landings have trebled in past 20 years
The electronic auction was introduced in August 2003, with a view to improving the supply and demand for white-fish landed in Shetland by allowing users to buy freshly caught fish without being physically present.
It seems to have had a big impact. SSA’s website says landings by volume have more than trebled in the past 20 years, while their total value has risen more than five-fold.