Harbour News 27 April–23 May 2022

72 arrivals for the period

Whitefish totalled 26,100 from nineteen Scottish trawl, fifteen Anglo longline and two Anglo freezer netters. The Scottish fleet has largely finished fishing at Rockall; the inflated price of fuel has made it unviable to work so far offshore. Thankfully there has been a decent fishing of monkfish on the shelf edge combined with a good run of haddocks north and west of the Butt. The Peterhead-registered Ocean Endeavour has decided to target Greenland halibut for a couple of trips. This cold-water species is found locally at depths of 1000m along the Faroe – Shetland Channel where the water temperature ranges from 1 to 4 degrees Celsius. The fish is prized for its firm and tasty flesh and grows to a maximum size of around 120cm weighing up to 45kgs. The Anglo fleet has enjoyed much better returns in recent weeks with hake and ling fairly abundant west of the Butt of Lewis.
Shellfish – in particular prawns – are always very elusive in May and so many of the boats are undergoing annual refits, repairs and gear-mending.
As has been the case all year, the non-fishing sector has been very busy. Thirty-three vessels have visited in the period comprising twenty-three aqua-culture, six cruise ships, two MCA tugs, two leisure charter, one Marine Lab research vessel and one tall ship. Cruise ships Hebridean Princess (twice), Viking Venus, Spirit of Discovery and Hanseatic Nature all made scheduled day visits in mostly sunny weather. The Hurtigruten expedition ship Spitsbergen made an unscheduled visit and enjoyed themselves so much they returned two weeks later. Reports from retailers around the village suggest that cruise spend is very good with one shop reporting sales in excess of the very busy tall ship weekend of 2011.
Last weekend the harbour was graced with two magnificent but very different sailing boats – the privately owned 305ft super yacht Eos anchored for a night before heading off to the Summer Isles and the 67ft Fifie Swan LK 243 built in Lerwick 122 years ago. The Swan is on her way to St Kilda today with eight paying guests before returning to Ullapool for two taster trainee days for 20 local school children.

Shore Street Project Update
The project continues to gather momentum with funding secured, planning agreed and a contractor all but appointed. The works will have a slow start from August 2022; the first stages involve the setup of a work camp on the pier and preparatory work on the beach. Construction will continue six days a week throughout autumn and winter and the works are scheduled for completion by March 2023. In the coming weeks the proposed design will be posted on the harbour website and hard copies will be displayed upstairs in the ferry terminal building. Public consultation on elements of the final design will be carried out as the year progresses with a view to feeding into the final appearance of the promenade. Apologies for the later than planned announcement but continuing procrastination on VAT issues has held up the contractual award.