Harbour News 28 March–25 April 2023

94 arrivals for the period

Whitefish totalled 49,400 boxes from thirty-five Scottish trawl, sixteen Anglo longline and two Anglo freezer netters. Scottish effort continues at Rockall with a fleet of around seventeen vessels concentrating on the seasonal haddock fishery and landing in Ullapool every ten days or so. The fish have now spawned and as they lose condition their market value drops making it unviable to travel the 250 miles west to Rockall grounds. In the coming weeks the migrant trawl fleet will give the area a rest, returning later in the year when the haddock have fattened up. In addition, perhaps the high value squid will reappear during the summer months as they have done sporadically in the past. The Anglo longline fleet have been enjoying rich pickings of hake and ling along the shelf edge in recent weeks, many of the boats have now returned home for their annual refits and holidays. The Anglo freezer vessels work long trips of perhaps eight to twelve weeks fishing deepwater banks well north and west of the Butt of Lewis, processing their catch of mainly monkfish on-board.

Shellfish has also been busy with a number of prawn trawlers from east of Scotland and Ireland working the Minches and landing in Ullapool weekly. The end of April and May have always been poor months for prawn catches and effort has reduced in recent days with the vessels returning to home waters.

Non-fishing was once again predominantly fishfarm support vessels calling in for fuel and crew changes. In addition, the MCA tug Ievoli Black made her monthly crew change visit, the cruise liner Viking Venus made a scheduled visit on a sunny but breezy day and the smaller Hurtigruten expeditions vessel Otto Sverdrup made a surprise call last Sunday 23rd.

Shore Street Project Update

All good on the project front with excellent progress across the works. Dredging to deepen the new inner harbour and approaches plus deepening of all fishing berths was completed in mid-April. The Caithness promenade slabs are being laid west to east and the same material is being fitted east to west as copes for the now fully constructed natural stone seawall. Tarring has started in earnest with a large section of Shore Street surfaced with the base coat which will ensure efficient traffic flow whilst the north pavement kerbs are installed. The north pavement works have been complicated by failings in the dilapidated sub-pavement sewage system, which will be repaired and replaced as required. The three interconnecting lanes between Argyle Street and the seafront have been cleared and resurfaced with new railings fitted to improve access.  The five remaining pontoon piles will be installed in the coming weeks and divers will attend to fit anodes to all the new steelwork. Pontoons and breakwaters will arrive in May which should herald the end of the inner harbour section of the works.