Harbour News 29 March-17 April

46 Arrivals for the Period

Whitefish totalled 19,500 boxes from eleven Scottish trawlers; two landings from a Scottish seine netter and seven Anglo-Spanish long liners. The Scottish effort was predominantly focused on the seasonal Rockall haddock fishery with boats reporting plentiful good quality fish on the grounds. The Lerwick-registered Avrella, owned by Trevor Cumming of Burra Isle, is one of the few vessels left in the Scottish fleet that uses seine net fishing gear. Seine netters fish during daylight hours, shooting the gear on marks of fish by deploying a couple of miles of rope to herd the shoal into the net. The benefits of seine netting include less fuel, and the fish come aboard in pristine condition, fetching a better price at market. The Banff-registered Endeavour IV made a half landing of monkfish and ground-fish from the shelf edge before rigging up with a scientific monkfish trawl and heading off on a Marine Scotland charter. Every spring for the past twelve years, three commercial vessels are chartered and together with the research vessel Scotia a comprehensive trawl survey of west coast monkfish grounds is completed. This year the Scotia is out of action and Endeavour IV has been called up as a late replacement to cover the Rockall element of the survey area. The fourteen-day survey ends on the 25th April when Endeavour IV returns to Ullapool to de-rig the scientific trawl and return to commercial fishing.

Shellfish effort has decreased in recent weeks with the larger prawn trawlers returning to the North Sea. The offshore crabbers’ catches have decreased as is the case at this time of the year and the local fleet continue to work away as weather permits.

Non-fishing was split between fishfarm and naval vessels. The Aultbea-based tug Nitrox made multiple visits with redundant fishfarm mooring gear. The tank ship Norholm called in for 210,000 smolts. The Dutch navy minehunter Williamstad called in to drop off three decoy mines and the civilian support vessels Smit Wey & Romney spent two weeks day running.

In Tall Ship news, Wylde Swan returned from the Caribbean to Rotterdam in late March and underwent a full refit in only fourteen days. This included de-masting and re-rigging the vessel together with dry-docking. The ship set sail for London to join the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta last week and is getting ready for the first race to Sines in Portugal which starts on 19th April. Afterwards, they travel on to Bermuda, Boston, Halifax and finally back to Le Havre in September. Wylde Swan has provisionally booked to return to Ullapool on 18th August 2018 for another series of adventure voyages around the highlands and islands of Scotland. Tecla is due to return to Ullapool on 24th April and has an exciting itinerary planned for the summer including Skye, St Kilda, Iceland, Greenland, Faroe before returning to Ullapool in September an then home to Holland. For information on both ships’ itineraries please check their websites – www.wyldeswan.eu or www.tecla-sailing.com