NAFC Marine Centre UHI

(North Atlantic Fisheries College)

Now a partner college within the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), the NAFC Marine Centre is located at Port Arthur, a quarter-mile (0.5 km) southwest of Scalloway, on the west coast of the Shetland Mainland. Founded by Shetland Islands Council as the North Atlantic Fisheries College in 1988, as part of its strategy to support the local fisheries industries, the Centre has around 70 staff (2010) and 650 students (2005), studying some 50 subjects that focus on training for the fishing industry, fish and shellfish farming and in marine engineering. The Centre undertakes consultancy, environmental and quality monitoring on a commercial basis, together with marine science and food technology research. A Merchant Navy Officer Cadet programme began in 2004. NAFC Marine Centre is one of only five approved centres for this programme in the UK. The Centre also takes responsibility for fishing-related matters on behalf of Shetland Islands Council.

Teaching was initially undertaken at a number of sites before purpose-built premises were completed. Aquaculture courses were delivered in Scalloway Public Hall and Scalloway Junior High School, and classes for fishermen in the offices of the former Iceatlantic fish processing plant at Blacks Ness.

The two-storey main building was constructed on the site of a former herring station in 1992 and formally opened by Mr. J.M. Burgess, Director of Development at Shetland Islands Council, on the 25th April 1994. This building houses the Shetland School of Nautical Studies, administrative functions, a lecture theatre, which doubles as a cinema for the community, a library which includes a public-access internet service and a fine seafood restaurant which is also open to the public. Equipment includes a high-tech simulator of a ship's bridge which is particularly valuable for training pilots for the Sullom Voe Oil Terminal and Lerwick Harbour. The main building has been extended to provide premises for Shetland Seafood Quality Control Ltd. the commercial quality standards monitoring arm of the Centre.

Two further adjacent phases of development occurred with funding assistance from the European Union. The blue aluminium-clad Port Arthur House is a student accommodation block, which was completed in 2000 and provides 25 en-suite bedrooms. Completed in 2001, the John Goodlad Centre is a marine science learning resource centre. Both were designed by Lerwick-based PJP Architects and constructed by Irvine Contractors Ltd. of Gremista. There is also a Marine Hatchery dating from 1999.

While most higher education institution are centrally-funded by government, the Centre continues to receive most of its core funding from Shetland Islands Council, recognising the ongoing importance of marine industries to the local economy. It is administered by the Shetland Fisheries Training Centre Trust (established in 1988) and governed by a Board of Trustees, including members nominated by Shetland Islands Council and the local fishing industry. Reflecting an increasing scope, the name was changed from the North Atlantic Fisheries College to the NAFC Marine Centre in 2005.

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