Crowds gathered in a small Aberdeenshire fishing village last week to greet His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales – known as The Duke of Rothesay in Scotland – during a visit to a family-run seafood business.

The Prince of Wales’ visit on 13 September to Murray McBay & Co in Johnshaven followed a meeting he had with the McBay family last year at Birkhall, where he expressed his interest in the fishing industry.

After a warm welcome from pupils at Johnshaven Primary School, the Prince chatted with the crowd and took the time to meet other small businesses in the village before he was shown into ‘the shed’ to see the holding tanks and live locally caught lobsters.

Ivar McBay, partner of Murray McBay & Co, and his two sons Ivar Jnr and Jason demonstrated the weighing in and grading process for fresh lobsters landed by local boats. The Prince was then shown the family’s new retail venture, The Lobster Shop, and met staff members.

Loren McBay, who works in the retail arm of the business, said: “The visit was a huge delight for our family business, and it was a privilege to have a member of the royal family visit our wee shop.”

Partner in the business Jackie McBay added: “After many years as a wholesale company, it was a daunting prospect to diversify into retail, but we are very glad we did. Today’s visit was exciting for us all to show His Royal Highness our produce.”

Murray McBay & Co has traded as a wholesale shellfish merchant for more than 75 years, specialising in lobster, with customers worldwide, with Japan, Norway and the EU being the main markets.

With Brexit and the pandemic stopping all export sales, 2020 proved to be a tough year for the business, which is why the family decided to diversify into retail, to encourage the public to enjoy the fresh and delicious seafood that Scotland’s coastline offers.

The Lobster Shop had its first sales of prepared lobster on Hogmanay 2020, and although it has been a difficult year for all retail businesses, the McBay family is now looking ahead with enthusiasm and confidence.

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. Main image credit: Kirstie Abbey.

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