Harbour News 5 – 19 March 2019

44 arrivals for the period

Whitefish totalled 7,400 boxes from five Scottish trawl and five Anglo Spanish long-line landings. The Scottish trawlers continue to concentrate their efforts at Rockall where they’re fishing for haddock and monkfish with mixed results; mainly caused by the stormy weather. The Anglo fleet remains largely in the north; a few vessels are trying their luck closer to Ullapool.  Again, due to the weather, results are mixed.

Shellfish effort has increased.  A number of visiting prawn trawlers are working the North Minch and running into Ullapool to land and take fuel and ice before returning to the grounds.

The Non-fishing sector was busy with a diverse mix of arrivals. The Briggs-owned landing craft Cameron called in twice to discharge and load navigation buoys. The Inter Caledonia and Ievoli Black called in for their routine monthly crew changes. The Tanera Mor support vessel Cromarty Queen called in for equipment, the fishfarm tug Sally Ann visited for layovers and the pelagic trawler Altaire collected scientists and equipment for a Marine Scotland mackerel charter. The western mackerel stock is assessed triennially using a variety of chartered pelagic trawlers and European research vessels. Each vessel is given a defined grid to cover at a set speed of 10 knots.  They tow a plankton sampler which samples the water column and collects (amongst other things) mackerel eggs. The surveys takes place over a three-month period, working from the Bay of Biscay to north of Shetland and west to Rockall. The eggs are counted and staged to assess their precise spawning date and the individual vessel data sets are combined to produce a relative abundance index to compare to previous results. This index is the primary tool used to assess the health of the western mackerel stock and for setting the catch quotas for subsequent years. Altaire will return in fourteen days for a crew change before embarking on another grid survey further south.