Harbour News 3rd – 23rd February 2016

34 arrivals for the period.

Whitefish landings have picked up with 4000 boxes landed from 2 Scottish trawlers and 9 Anglo Spanish liners. The Scottish vessels Adventurer and Endeavour both made mid trip landings of monkfish and quality groundfish for consignment to Peterhead. The Anglo fleet continue to land hake and ling weekly with a number of boats returning to the fishery after a well earned break at home.

Shellfish landings likewise have improved with a number of prawn trawlers landing along with 2 scallop dredgers and the weekly offshore crabbers.

Non-fishing saw the fishfarm support vessel Tie Venture day running, the Peterhead registered pelagic trawler Lunar Bow in for repairs and the Shetland registered pelagic trawler Altaire (pictured alongside in Norway) in to mobilise for a Marine Scotland mackerel egg charter.
The western mackerel stock is assessed triennially, with an international fleet of vessels carrying out surveys covering the west coast from Shetland to the Bay of Biscay for the next 5 months. Participating vessels complete a pre arranged grid running east and west from the coast to the 400m contour towing a plankton sampler. The egg catches are sorted into species and the mackerel component examined microscopically to calculate when the eggs were spawned. The volume of water passing through the sampler is known and armed with this information scientists can calculated a recruitment abundance index which is then compared to previous years’ data. This relative index is the primary tool used to assess stock performance and set catch limits for the fishery. Altaire at 76m was the biggest trawler in Scotland but will soon be superseded by the next generation of 79 metre pelagic super trawlers being built for the Buchan family of Peterhead.

Ferry news despite assurances that the introduction of the Loch Seaforth would see no reduction in service; the 2 additional weekly summer sailings on Wednesday and Friday have been lost. The 2016 summer timetable sees the inclusion of an additional Sunday sailing from 26th June – 4th September, departing Stornoway at 0800hrs and Ullapool 1130hrs.
The Clyde and Hebridean Ferry Service is currently out to tender with the 8 year contract being fought over by Calmac and Serco. The final tender paperwork was issued last week and both parties have until the 7thMarch to make their submissions. The new contract runs to 4 volumes of paperwork with quality, passenger experience and value for money the focus for Transport Scotland. Tenders will be assessed by a Transport Scotland panel assisted by independent financial experts. The new contract should be awarded by May with the winner taking up the service on the 1st October 2016.

Caley Oils Building is still in the hands of the administrator. The building is severely dilapidated and filthy after years of oil and fuel storage. The Harbour Trust must be confident that the ageing infrastructure is made safe and where possible either cleaned or sterilised in order to satisfy the relevant agencies. The harbour has engaged contractors to undertake the remediation on behalf of the administrators which at time of writing is at 80%. On completion SEPA will inspect the premises and if all goes well the harbour will then proceed with the purchase. UHT has had a number of enquires about the main building and former Blythswood retail outlet. At this time neither property is owned by the harbour and given the appalling condition are unsuitable for letting without significant investment. Working on the assumption that the sale is completed, UHT will have the building structurally surveyed and engage with the planning authority to discuss the options for this Ullapool landmark.