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Recovery after WW2 1945-1950s

Fishing became a year-round industry

The effects of war meant the seafood industry had to change.  With a shortage in manpower and only access to smaller vessels, a technological revolution in fishing followed. In the 1940s and 50s, the recovery in countries in Eastern Europe meant that there was a huge market for herring.

Boosted by grants and loans, such as the ‘Inshore Fishing Industry Act’,  many of the motor powered vessels from WW2 were converted to fishing boats.

The future of the industry also lay in dual purpose boats, which were adapted so that they could be used all year round. They now carried driftnets in the summer for herring and, for the rest of the year, seine nets for white fishing.

Fishermen were now fully committed to the fishing – and what had once been a seasonal earner, now demanded year round attention. There was a development of piers and facilities to service these year round boats. Lerwick, was in a good position, having established a quay, auction and harbour in its boom herring days.

Lerwick became the base for herring and Scalloway for haddock.

The Shetland herring fishery benefited greatly from ‘The Marshall Plan’ of 1948. This was the official American programme put in place to help rebuild European economies after WW2, which included feeding people with cured herring.