Harbour News 18 Jan–20 Feb 2017

24 arrivals for the period

Whitefish totalled 2700 boxes from three Scottish and two Anglo-Spanish landings. The INS- registered Adventurer continues to fish for monkfish along the deepwater edge from St Kilda northwards, reporting unprecedented numbers of quality monks on the grounds. The Spanish fleet have been conspicuous by their absence this year with vessels working further north and landing into Scrabster. A number of boats that worked the festive period have returned to Spain for their spring break and should return to Scottish waters in March. The future of the international fleet fishing and landing in Scotland is questionable given the hard Brexit stance. The most frequent landing vessel to Ullapool for the past few years, Ayr Queen was sold at Christmas and the skipper and crew were paid off. The owners took the view that investing in an ageing vessel was unwise given the uncertain future they face.  Interesting that there is a real focus on Spanish effort in the news but very little said about the international pelagic fleet scooping up thousands of tonnes of fish from Scottish waters.

Shellfish effort was mixed with the offshore crabbers continuing to work away and landing weekly. The Chinese crab export market continues to work well with several tonnes of live Scottish crab being flown out each week. The prawn fleet reports good catches when weather permits and the Oban-registered scalloper Rois Mhairi landed a good haul of clams from local waters.

Non-fishing was restricted to three fish farm related arrivals. The Oban-based landing craft Naomi Jennifer called in for an annual stability and tank survey.

The Scottish Seafarms’ specialist workboat Sally Ann (pictured) built in 2014 made a crew change before heading for their Summer Isles farm at Tannera.  With a permanent crew on board the Sally Ann undertakes fish treatments, net cleaning/changing, mooring setting and general heavy lift duties on company farms along the west coast fifty two weeks of the year. The third arrival was the Aultbea-based tug Tie Venture which was day-running to the local fishfarm at Ardmair.

In Tall Ships news, the Wylde Swan is enjoying life in the Caribbean (as is the case most winters) prior to returning to Holland in early April. There the ship will undergo a very hasty refit before heading off on her summer of transatlantic racing from London to Canada and back to France. Wylde Swan has committed to returning to Ullapool in 2018 for another series of exciting adventure voyages around our Scottish islands. The Tecla has spent the winter at home in Holland and will return to Ullapool in April for a circumnavigation of Skye and a trip to St Kilda. Thereafter she will head north to Iceland, the Arctic Circle and Greenland before returning to Ullapool in September. There are still places available on some of these trips, check out the website http://www.tecla-sailing.com/scotland/   The Tecla skipper Gijs, a sailing addict, has spent the winter as mate on the square rigger Bark Europa sailing to South America and the Antarctic – what a great life!