Orkney Fisheries Association (OFA) celebrated its 50th birthday last month with a dinner and ceilidh.

OFA was founded in 1972 by local fishermen to represent the interests of the Orkney industry. Since then, the fishing landscape in Orkney has changed dramatically, with a move away from whitefish and the increased importance of static fishing for crab, lobster and scallops. However, fishing remains a cornerstone of the community in Orkney, supporting two factories and multiple wholesalers.

The celebrations kicked off with a series of presentations from local scientists, as well as short updates by representatives from the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation. The scientists gave updates on the various projects OFA members have been involved with – including ongoing work on the brown crab stock assessment, and the use of cameras in creels to see how they interact with the seabed.

Hannah Fennell, head of OFA, said: “It’s been a tough few years for the fishing industry, and Orkney is no exception. But it was wonderful to have the chance to celebrate all the work carried out by OFA – from supporting and representing fishermen across all levels, to improving our understanding of the marine environment and commercial species.”

The celebrations continued with a dinner and ceilidh, held in the Kirkwall Sailing Club. Jocky Harcus (pictured above, far right alongside OFA chairman Jake Hutchison, left, and longstanding employee Christine Rosie, middle), one of the fishermen who helped to found OFA, had the honour of cutting the cake.

As well as celebrating the 50th anniversary of OFA, attendees expressed their thanks to Christine Rosie, who has worked for OFA for 25 years, with a bottle of prosecco and a round of applause.

Hannah Fennell said: “I’m incredibly grateful to those individuals who, 50 years ago, had the foresight to set up an association for the industry. Hopefully we have another 50 still to come!”

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here

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