Industrial age otters
Since the 1970s, the offshore oil boom has brought great changes to Shetland, increasing employment, but potentially putting pressure on wildlife. Elsewhere in Britain, otters have disappeared in some areas, but the waters around the Sullom Voe oil terminal in the Shetlands are home to a thriving otter population that is easily spotted. Otters dive for marine fish and crustaceans and are keen swimmers. They hunt day and night in these clean rich waters, with butterfish and eelpout their favourites. The family hunts as a group through the kelp that fringes the loch and stay together all winter, learning the skills necessary for survival and independence. In Shetland there is an otter for every mile of coastline, some 800 in all. This makes it the densest otter population in Europe.