Shetland Seafood Auctions Ltd operates the largest computerised “Dutch auction” system in the UK selling approximately 50 tonnes of fresh white fish every day .
How the auction works: the auction room has seating for 23 buyers, with an adjacent viewing gallery. It is situated above the Lerwick fishmarket and all fish, including that landed at the Scalloway fishmarket is sold here. Fish boxes typically weighing 30 to 45kg are laid out on the floor of the chilled fishmarkets for viewing by the registered buyers.
Beginning the previous day, boats detail their catch to fishing agents, LHD Ltd, who then enter the details on the "Landings” page. This gives Buyers up to 18 hours advance notice of what will be available on the following day’s market. A market plan advises the boats which section of the market they must lay out their boxes for sale. The boats generally land their fish at the markets from early afternoon until just after midnight.
Auction company staff size grade certain high value species and ensure the box weight is accurate. As a regulatory measure they also sample weigh 6 per cent of the boxes landed for all species. This work has to be finished by 6.00 am.
Auctioneers then catalogue each boat’s fish by inputting the details to a handheld device and wirelessly transferring the completed catalogue to the main database, to be printed for each buyer.
Registered local buyers view the fish available for auction from 6.00 am each morning and once they have received the catalogue at 7am, they make contact with over 200 companies in the UK, France and Spain to plan their purchasing. Remote buyers can register to place bids on the fish from their own offices, with transportation arranged by the auction company. They too can view an online catalogue from 7am.
The auction begins at 8.00 am every weekday. A large bidding “clock” displays a description of each lot on offer, starting at a higher price per kilo than each lot is expected to receive and dropping at 1p per kg until a buyer stops it by entering a bid on their keypad. The buyer’s name appears on the clock to confirm the price and the quantity of the transaction.
For information on how to register please visit our Contact Us page here.
Did you know?
- Over 50 tonnes of white fish are sold each day
- Catches from Shetland’s local fleet of approximately 30 boats are supplemented with landings by fishing vessels from mainland Scotland, Norway and Denmark
- Over 20 species of fish are landed daily
- Fish boxes typically weigh 30-45kg – on average around 1,000 boxes are sold each day
- The UK’s only other Dutch Auction fishmarket is located in Plymouth