This week, whitefish totalled 1000 boxes from the two Anglo-Spanish liners Ayr Queen and Sylvanna. The offshore crabbers Our Hazel and Heather K and the Gairloch prawner Ocean Trust made their regular weekly landings and the Oban prawn trawler Maryeared called in for ice.
2012 has been a very challenging year for all sectors of the fishing industry with incessant punitive regulations, soaring fuel costs and periodically very poor market prices. The annual merry-go-round of quota and effort negotiation is currently underway in Brussels. Despite positive scientific advice and a widely reported abundance of fish on the grounds it seems that once again the Scottish catching sector is in for a beating from the eurocrats. On a more positive note, the harbour attracted new business in 2012 with the transhipment of farmed salmon from Dunvegan and the export of aggregate from Ullapool quarry to Dounreay.
2012 Arrivals Summary
Scottish Whitefish 82 landings
Top Scottish Whitefish Adventurer 15 landings
Anglo Spanish 96 landings
Top Anglo Spanish Whitefish Ayr Queen 36 landings
Offshore crabbers 92 landings
Top Crabber Our Hazel 47 landings
In other harbour news throughout the year, our very own top sail schooner Wylde Swan returned and undertook five voyages around the coast giving the 170 locals who went on board the time of their lives. The magnificent Statsraad Lehmkuhl spent the weekend alongside and hosted a lively Feis Rois ceilidh for 200 revellers. The ferry car park extension project was completed and features a covered pipe band stage and dancing platform. Scottish Government finally announced that a new larger ferry would be built for the Ullapool – Stornoway route with an anticipated delivery due date of June 2014. Cruise business increased slightly with a number of new vessels visiting the village including the 45,000 ton Artania carrying 1200 passengers and 550 crew. We’re delighted to say that they have re-booked for next year. Work finally started on Morefield Business Park; local firm Ullapool Construction Ltd won the project contract. The harbour took on three new staff members and gained another harbour baby (congratulation Arran & Scott). On a much sadder note, next week marks the first anniversary of the loss of fisherman Antony Toland who tragically drowned in Ullapool Harbour on Christmas Eve 2011. Our thoughts are with the Toland family at this time.
2013 looks to be a very busy year. Alongside daily fishing and ferry activities, the ferry pier extension work will continue in preparation for the new vessel. Morefield Business Park is due for completion in early summer. Statsraad Lehmkuhl and Wylde Swan have both promised to return for trips and ceilidhs. Cruise business is on the rise; fourteen ships are expected next summer including a weekend visit by the prestigious residence-at-sea ship The World. Six lucky harbour-sponsored local youngsters will take part in the Tall Ships races from Denmark to Helsinki on board Wylde Swan. Many thanks to everyone who has supported this great opportunity for our young people by purchasing the Harbour Calendar; it’s still not too late to pick one up! Last but not least, the inaugural Skiff World Championships will be in town for a week in July (c’mon the Lass!).
On behalf of Ullapool Harbour Trustees and staff I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy and safe Christmas and a successful and healthy 2013.