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Shetland Whitefish

Shetland Heritage

The 'fishing' has been at the forefront of Shetland culture for over 3000 years. This dependency on the sea for their livelihood makes Shetlanders all the more concerned about responsible fishing, environmentally friendly procedures and conservation of their natural habitats.

Fishing Grounds

The harbours of Lerwick and Scalloway are so close to the fishing grounds that peak freshness is guaranteed at all times. The boats are only several hours away meaning that fish can be caught, landed and processed all within 24 hours and delivered to the customer within 48 hours. Our whitefish stocks have full traceability right from catch to consumer, (We know from which boat, when and where.)


At sea the boats take great care with their catch packing into boxes which are covered immediately with ice. When landed boxes are weighed and graded for size at the state of the art chilled markets.

A unique collaboration of local companies enables the running of the Shetland Seafood Auction. Responsible for operating the markets they also promote Shetland as the ideal place to land fish for boats fishing in the North Sea.

In keeping with the pioneering spirit they operate an online auction enabling buyers to purchase whole whitefish or any of the Shetland Finest products online at

The sustainable approach of Shetland fishermen and the hard work which they have put in reducing the size of the fleet has now been officially recognised by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). North Sea Haddock has now been approved and we are able provide fully certified MSC Haddock and Mackerel along with other species when approved.

Line Caught Fishing

It is recognised world wide that line fishing is a very environmentally friendly way to fish. This method of fishing is often unpredictable and requires a great deal of skill and patience and is something which Shetland’s Finest wants to support and encourage. Through partnering with local fishing boats higher prices are offered to line boats to encourage this under utilised method. (We pay higher prices which reflects the higher quality of the fish.)

Line caught fishing uses the more selective fishing method of hooks on a line which have natural or artificial baits attached to them. These lines are towed behind the boat using a technique called trolling, with there being little weight to tow then this is a very fuel efficient way to fish. The lines are weighted in such a way as to lower them to the seafloor but also to keep them at a level which will not cause damage to the seabed ecology.

This allows for minimal environmental impact and ensures the quality of these sustainably caught fish. The fish are caught live and suffer minimal stress. Once the fish have been caught they are stored in ice ensuring their peak condition on arrival at the factory.

The lines have specialised hooks to avoid catching other animals while the weights attached to the lines make certain that they drop quickly to the seabed preventing seabirds being hooked or tangled. Rarely are small fish caught but if so they are returned alive immediately. There are few stock depletion problems associated with line caught fishing and there is no unwanted by-catch associated with this method.


The first stage in processing is selecting out the best fish from the market to purchase, with a thorough knowledge of the market and boats our buyers take their pick of the finest fresh fish. Each day fish is processed to guarantee freshness and quality. Packed into boxes and iced the fish are transported in chilled containers right from our processing unit to the customer.

To further enhance confidence in our products all stages of the process from boats to the markets and the processing unit are all independent audited. Strict guidelines, set out by the Shetland Seafood Quality Control (SSQC) covering all areas such as grading and handling of the fish ensure the quality of the fish is maintained.

Aug 12, 2012
Shetland’s Finest Salmon enjoyed by Olympians
Well the Olympics may be over but perhaps you would be interested to know that Team GB had the pleasure of tucking into Shetland s Finest Smoked Salmon. Winning rowing and equestrian Olympians had the opportunity to savour Shetland s Finest Salmon which was smoked and supplied by...
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Mar 12, 2012
Landwise: Isles Lamb on Menu at Hot New Eatery
By Drew Ratter Shetland Times I was fascinated to be sent a restaurant review from The New York Times. It was very positive but at first I was not entirely clear why I had received it until half way down I discovered that one of the things eaten at this highly lauded eatery was Shetland lamb sourced from Shetland....
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Jan 16, 2012
Native Shetland Wool now registered under the EU Protected Designation of Origin scheme
Having first requested Protected Designation of Origin PDO status 6 years ago Native Shetland Wool has now secured this highly sought after accreditation from the EU. PDO enables Native Shetland Wool to be recognised by consumers as a premium product genuinely originating from the Shetland Islands. Native Shetland Wool...
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Dec 05, 2011
Silver Fleet
Shetland's Finest are delighted for Jamie Oliver and his events team who secured a partnership with Woods' Silver Fleet to provide truly sensational dishes on board their vessels including Woods' flagship vessel Silver Sturgeon on the Thames. As Jamie seeks to deliver menus which are globally inspired yet comprising the...
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