Harbour News 1-19 January 2016

20 arrivals for the period

Whitefish totalled 900 boxes for the period with 3 landings from Anglo Spanish long liners. The Anglo fleet continue to work more northern waters with most vessels choosing to land into Scrabster rather than steam south to Ullapool. The Scottish fleet have been hampered by extreme weather since the turn of the year but should start to land somewhere this week. The new zero discard legislation is now in place with Scottish vessels expected to land all haddock and plaice caught. The undersize element will either be sold as bait or sent to Aberdeen and made into fishmeal. In order to comply with the legislation Ullapool Harbour has to provide refrigerated storage by way of a reefer container for the discard element of the catch.

Shellfish landings have been fairly poor due to the stormy spell of weather. The zero discard legislation also applies to the prawn fleet with trawlers obligated to put ashore all prawns caught. As yet there is no known disposal method for undersize prawns landed as they are unsuitable for bait and fishmeal – any suggestions?

2016 was a very good fishing year for Ullapool Harbour with Whitefish effort/landings up by 39% and Shellfish effort/landings up by 5%.

The non-fishing sector was very quiet with only the fishfarm tank ship Ronja Pioneer in for a couple of layovers. Despite the occasionally horrendous weather the Loch Seaforth has proved her resilience by only cancelling one sailing due to northerly gales and 10m swell.

Harbour Projects continue in 2016. The most urgent issue which needs to be resolved is the provision of fuel to vessels. In August 2015 Caley Oils went into administration leaving the harbour very much in the lurch with regard to provision of fuel 24/7. Additionally the ageing infrastructure (which hadn’t been under the harbour’s jurisdiction) was found to be severely neglected and in all cases is beyond repair. For the past few months, Ullapool Harbour Trust has worked with the Administrators to ensure that in particular the underground tanks and pipework are sterilised to prevent any possible environmental issues. The pipework has been flushed through and will be removed from the underground ducting this week and as removal was not an option, the tanks have been steam-cleaned prior to being filled with foam concrete. The building and retail outlet are both included in the Administrators’ list of assets and will be taken over by UHT in the coming weeks. The fabric of both buildings is severely dilapidated and in the first instance UHT will start the difficult job of assessing what is required to make these structures safe and clean. It must be stressed that UHT had no desire to take on the cost and responsibility of cleaning up 60 years of fuel provision and the associated remediation required, but the unexpected demise of Caley Oils left little choice. Reliable supply, available, clean and affordable fuel is an essential part of the harbour offer and we will work hard to achieve these objectives over the coming months. UHT is in talks with fabricators and plans are underway to install new fuel infrastructure to service all visiting vessels (including the Loch Seaforth) later in 2016.

The harbour unit at Mill St is being developed; a solar PV system was installed on the workshop roof at the end of December and a new storage area will be constructed over the next couple of months. The additional storage area with underfloor heating will be used to house all the spares required for the new Linkspan, Passenger Access System and fenders.

Tall Ships Tecla and Wylde Swan are both coming this year with trips round the islands on offer; travel dates are on our website’s event diary (www.ullapool-harbour.co.uk) or visit the vessels’ individual websites for further information.