Harbour News 4 October 2013

3rd – 30th September (56 arrivals for the period)

Whitefish totalled 7500 boxes from 4 Scottish and 7 Anglo Spanish landings. The Inverness-registered twin rigger Adventurer made a welcome return after her annual refit, landing three shots of quality haddocks and monkfish from Rockall and the Shelf Edge. The Banff-registered trawler Genesis landed a decent haul of haddock from west of the Butt of Lewis. The Anglo-Spanish long-liner Ayr Queen returned to the coast and is fishing very well landing lorry loads of quality hake weekly. Additional whitefish landings came from 4 freezer netters landing processed monkfish from deepwater grounds to the west and north.
The shellfish sector has been very busy with 11 landings of offshore crabs and lobster plus 9 scallop and 14 prawn landings. The regular offshore crabbers Heather K and Our Hazel have been joined by the Shetland-registered Majestic, all of whom fish creels to the north and west of the Butt of Lewis. The seasonal scallop fishery is underway with several vessels landing good hauls of scallops from local waters twice weekly. The Inverness-registered twin rig freezer trawlers Apollo and Maracestina called in and landed cartons of frozen prawns from the Porcupine Bank, SW Ireland. Both vessels land into Ireland for part of the year and were on their way back to North Sea grounds for the winter fishery. A number of Stornoway prawners landed over the weekend and filled up with ice before going back fishing and the local fleet worked away as weather permitted. The harbour ice plant was unfortunately out of action for 4 weeks when the main compressor motor gave up the ghost after 27 years. Thankfully all is well again with ice production back to normal. Apologies to all our loyal customers for this unforeseen inconvenience.

The non-fishing sector saw the Marine Scotland vessels Alba na Mara and Scotia in for gear and personnel change respectively. The Scotia had just completed the annual Rockall haddock survey; early reports suggest another bumper haddock recruitment which bodes very well for the 2014 fishery and beyond. The Alba na Mara was conducting a targeted inshore survey to assess the seabed in predetermined quadrants to provide baseline information in connection with the proposed Marine Protected Area designation.

Ferry news is all positive with the new ship Loch Seaforth under construction in Germany and on schedule for a July 2014 delivery. The freight vessel Muirneag came to the end of her working life in the UK and has been sold to Turkey and replaced by the Seatruck owned Clipper Ranger. The replacement freighter is on contract until next summer and will run overnight 6 times a week. Due to the size of the vessel (122m) and the resulting 31 metre overhang on the pier, a wind restriction of 30 knots has been placed on the service for safety reasons. The ferry pier extension construction contract is out to tender with 4 companies expected to submit papers by the 9th October deadline and the new gangway is likewise out to tender for another 3 weeks. Plans are taking shape for a passenger terminal overhaul. Once this process is complete, there will be a public meeting to allow those interested to view and comment on the design prior to the plans being finalised.

The scrap metal amnesty was once again very successful with £1500 raised; all monies will be used to support the Ullapool High School electric car project. The home-built supercar Insane Bolt has once again qualified for the national finals in Goodwood on the 13th October. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for a trouble-free race and a top ten finish (maybe even top five). Once again many thanks for the generosity shown and particular thanks to Kenny Maclean for transporting the spoils to Muir of Ord.