Harbour News 5 – 25 July 2022

38 arrivals for the period.

Whitefish totalled 10,200 boxes from nine Scottish trawlers and five Anglo long-liners. A handful of Scottish boats are still working west landing haddocks and monkfish from Rockall and the shelf edge. Likewise a small number of Spanish long-liners continue to work waters to the west of the Butt of Lewis for hake and ling.

Many thanks to Chrissy Boyd for her questions of last week.  See below a schematic which shows different fishing gears in action. Scottish whitefish vessels are primarily family-owned trawlers fishing for demersal fish (also known as groundfish) who live and feed on or near the seabed. By the very nature of the method of pulling heavy fishing gear along the seabed trawlers tend to target areas of fairly even boulder-free seabed.  Anglo vessels are predominantly company-owned vessels from Spain and France but they are registered in the UK which gives them access to both the grounds and the species. The Anglo fleet has always been focused on high quality catches and engages in long-lining which consists of strings of baited hooks laid on the seabed often on rocky uneven areas inaccessible to trawlers.  This ensures that the lines are not snagged by trawlers and the fish are unbruised and pristine when they arrive on-board. There still exists a twelve-mile limit which applies to any non UK-registered fishing vessels although post-Brexit, all previous access arrangements are under review. Shellfish such as prawns, crabs and lobsters are caught in creels, kept alive and are mainly exported to Europe; additionally, a few trawlers fish for prawns. Scottish whitefish is mainly consigned to Peterhead and is either auctioned on the fish market or sold directly to processors. A large proportion of the Rockall haddock finds its way to the shelves of M&S. Anglo- landed fish is all consigned to markets in Europe to be auctioned to the highest bidder. Boats land in Ullapool primarily because it suits them geographically but offering all services (fuel, ice, water, landing assistance) 24/7 also makes Ullapool an attractive working destination.  Hopefully that answers all your questions and thanks again for them Chrissy.

The shellfish sector was very quiet as is the case at this time of the year; there were six landings from visiting prawn trawlers combined with the efforts of the local fleet.

Non-fishing activity was the usual mix of aquaculture vessels (ten) – in for crew changes and fuel, cruise and passenger vessels ships (six) – in for scheduled visits and the MCA tug Ievoli Black – in for their monthly crew change.

Shore Street Project Update

To explain the rather frustrating delays and lack of information as briefly as possible; the entire project was openly tendered by Ullapool Harbour Trust (UHT), making UHT the named client. Approximately 50% of the project costs are being met by Transport Scotland – Roads (TS) who are not named on the contract. That said, the issue of contractor invoice payments and VAT recovery has been debated for six months but we are hopeful that the coming days will offer an end in sight.  UHT and TS have issued letters of intent to allow the advance purchase of steel, rock armour and stone and this week the dredge contract will be similarly procured. The programme of works has a provisional start date of mid-September and will run for eight months until early May 2023. At no time will Shore Street be closed to vehicles as the contractor will operate temporary traffic lights both to allow for two-way access at all times and to avoid displacing traffic deeper into the village. A series of public display boards has been set up in the ferry terminal (upstairs) and in the upper corridor of the harbour building which showcases the project and everyone is welcome to take the time to visit.  If you have any questions, please email kevin@ullapool-harbour.co.uk.