Harbour News 30 May – 12 June 2017

48 arrivals for the period


Whitefish was once again very busy with 15,000 boxes landed by Scottish and Anglo-Spanish vessels. The Peterhead-registered Atlantic Challenge, the largest trawler in the Scottish fleet, landed a variety of deepwater species from the Wyville Thomson Ridge. The ridge separates the Faroe–Shetland Channel to the north from the Rockall trough to the south. Its significance lies in the fact that it forms part of the barrier between the colder waters of the Arctic and the warmer waters of the North Atlantic. Boats trawl to depths of 800m and catch some weird and wonderful creatures, their main commercial focus is Greenland (black) Halibut. The other Scottish landings were made up of monkfish from the shelf edge and four landings of squid from Rockall. The seasonal squid fishery is a welcome boost to the fleet with no quota implications for this valuable and at times plentiful stock. The Anglo-Spanish vessels have also had very good fishing, the liners landing full loads of hake and ling weekly and the netters landing processed monkfish and deepwater crab every three or four weeks. The harbour received a message this week from the retiring skipper of the Spanish vessel Ayr Dawn who wrote: “Thank you to all the people of Ullapool for making our lives less difficult, the harbour staff and all the people in the village in general, may our flag continue in the port.”

The shellfish sector has also been fairly steady with a number of visiting prawn trawlers landing good catches each week. The two offshore crabbers have seen a significant increase in their landings which always negatively affects the price; fortunately the Chinese export market continues to offer good money. The local fleet continue to work away with the exception of the Ullapool-registered Zenith whose skipper had a nasty accident at sea last week.  That said I see the boat left the harbour this morning complete with injured skipper.

Non-fishing was quiet with only three arrivals. The Norwegian pelagic super trawler Fiskebas came in for stores on her way home from a mackerel tagging survey of western waters. The North East Atlantic Mackerel Fishery assessment is carried out by a group of seven participating European partners over a two-year period.  Tagging is an important component of the assessment. Unique metal tags are injected beneath the fish’s skin; the fish are then immediately released at point of capture.   If a tagged fish is caught as part of a commercial catch the tag is detected by magnets fitted in the mackerel processing plants. The tag number, position and date caught plus the captured fish enables scientists to learn about the movements of the species and growth patterns over time.

The luxury cruise liner Hebridean Princess made a scheduled overnight call and the Dutch Tall Ship Atlantis landed an injured crewman.