Harbour News 30th April – 21st May (37 arrivals)
Whitefish totalled 6500 boxes from three Scottish trawlers, three Anglo Spanish gillnetters and three longliners. The Banff- registered twin rigger Genesis made two landings of monkfish and megrim from the shelf edge and the Inverness-registered Adventurer a landing of haddock and monkfish from Rockall. The Rockall haddock fishery which would normally be in full swing by now has failed to materialise this year following a very poor recruitment in 2011. There is a degree of optimism for 2014 as last year’s haddock recruitment indices were well above anything previously recorded at Rockall. The Anglo line fleet continues to fish for hake and ling along the shelf edge whilst the gillnetters target monkfish and crab further west on the deepwater banks.
The shellfish fleet continues to struggle along with poor catches and prices in all sectors. Historically May is always a barren month for prawns with most skippers mending and cleaning gear in preparation for hopefully improved pickings during the summer months.
Non fishing was fairly quiet with a couple of cruise ships and two fishfarm support vessels. The 45,000T German-owned Artania returned to Ullapool with 964 passengers and 512 crew. Thankfully the weather was fair and it was good to see the streets busy with visitors looking to spend some money. The vessel has already rebooked for next year. Next Tuesday 28th sees the return of the 554- berth German-owned Delphin (16,000T) for a half-day call 08:00-13:00. UHT have worked hard to attract additional ships to the village and very much appreciate the support of the local businesses and in particular Visit Scotland staff Chrissy & Jan for assisting us with the meet and greet service. This year Ullapool has 14 cruise visits in the diary with an anticipated 5500 passengers and over 2000 crew coming ashore to sample the delights of the village.
Morefield Industrial Estate is progressing well and is on schedule to be finished in early to mid July. There has been some speculation locally regarding the Trust’s decision-making about the units’ size and tenancy selection. These units have been designed to include a mezzanine storage area on the first floor should further space be required by the tenant. No objections were received during the planning process. The Morefield project has been ongoing for several years and a number of local businesses approached the harbour long ago looking for lease options. The Trust’s original plans to construct 10 units were reduced to 6 due to yard storage and legislative parking requirements. The principal criterion for receipt of grant assistance towards the commercial development aspect of the project was creation of new employment and the Board was obliged to apply this in the selection process. Ullapool Harbour Trust is and always has been fully committed to supporting local businesses and initiatives and will continue to do so. Financially, times are very tough and decisions have to be taken that may not suit everyone.
Tall Ships fund-raising is going well with a further £255 raised at the Coigach Skiff Regatta last weekend. Many thanks to the skiffers for inviting us along and a big thanks to all of you that sampled the flaming burgers on offer. The Wylde Swan adventure trips in August are attracting interest with most trips about 60% full. Having a Tall Ship operate from Ullapool is a rare privilege that may not happen again so with that in mind I would urge you to take a trip – you won’t regret it.