The Ethical Shellfish Company forced to close doors

The Isle of Mull-based company listed five key areas that ultimately led to the downfall of the business, led by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A spokesman for The Ethical Shellfish Company said: “It will come as no surprise to hear that​ [COVID] spelled the beginning of the end for our business. In March 2020 we lost our restaurant market overnight, and although we tried our hardest to replace this by building a home delivery service to enthusiastic and supportive customers, it was still a massive reduction in our sales.  

“More serious still, and as a direct consequence of COVID, was the loss of our boats, which we had to sell to keep us afloat during this period. Our main fishing boat had a hefty bank loan against it and faced with the huge loss of sales we were unable to keep up with repayments. There was no choice but to sell it to clear our loans and in the end both boats had to be sold to achieve this.” 

Brexit impact 

Brexit also had a major impact on the company, disrupting the supply of shellfish from smaller fishing operations along the West Coast of Scotland. 

“Several of these operations relied on European crew, who left the UK during Covid and then weren’t able to return,”​ the spokesman added. This left drastic crew shortages which in the end caused our main supplier to quit fishing altogether and leave Scotland. It also made it even more difficult to staff our small operation on Mull.” 

The company also cited the location of its business as one of the major challenges that made hiring more staff difficult. This wasn’t helped by the fact that any housing on the islands was being snapped up to be used as holiday homes.