Auction System Badly Timed, Say Buyers –

Auction System Badly Timed, Say Buyers European Fish Trader Published:  24 July, 2003

SHETLAND’S long awaited electronic fish auction went live for the first time today, but fish buyers said the timing was bad.

But Shetland Seafood Auction, the company behind the electronic auction, said the new facility was an important tool in reviving the trade and attracting more fish landings to Shetland.

Around 100 boxes of whitefish, landed by the local boats Defiant and the Comrades, were sold electronically at the Lerwick fish market for prices described as “average”.

Gideon Ward of Lerwick-based fish merchants Simpson & Ward said it had taken a long time to sell off 100 boxes of two day old fish with the help of a price clock that is designed to add more transparency to the auctioning process. Long term, the auction will go online to enable remote buyers to buy fish in Lerwick.

Secretary of the auction company and chief executive of the Shetland Fish Producers’ Organisation, Brian Isbister, said:

“The bottom line is that whatever fleet size is left in Shetland, whether it is the current 28 boats or just 20, they still require the best possible market under the current conditions.

“It is important that there is a viable option for local boats here in Shetland. In the longer term, we hope to attract more Scottish boats to land in Shetland.”