Harbour News 6 – 27 September

42 arrivals for the period

Whitefish activity has tailed off.  Several Scottish boats have now headed east for their annual refits and likewise the Anglo fleet is heading home. A total of 6,000 boxes was landed by three Scottish trawlers, five Anglo longlines and a single Anglo freezer netter. The Scottish lads continue to work Rockall and the Shelf Edge mainly for monkfish with a bycatch of haddock, ling and saithe. The Anglo fleet as ever fishes the Shelf Edge for hake, ling and monkfish.

The Banff-registered trawler Audacious BF77 picked up a fairly unusual species (pictured) last weekend when fishing in 500m of water on the east edge of the Rockall Bank.  The Sailfin Roughshark (Oxynotus paradoxus) almost exclusively feeds on egg cases of rabbitfish that are planted into the seabed.  Its teeth have specially adapted to nibble off the ends and suck out the contents. More abundant around offshore banks, their angular ‘high’ body plan and fins enables them to better keep their position amongst the strong currents often present in these areas.

Shellfish activity was very quiet again.  There were four visiting prawn trawlers, an offshore crabber and a scallop dredger which combined with the efforts of the local inshore fleet.

Once again the non-fishing sector was busy with a mixed bag of vessels calling in for the period. Fishfarm vessels Orcadia II, Ronjafisk, Aqua Skye, Aqua Star and BK Marjory called in for layover, fuel, crew change, ice and day-running respectively. Civilian navy support vessel Smit Yare made her annual visit for the naval exercise. HMS Express an Archer-class patrol vessel affiliated with the University of Wales, called in for fuel. HMC Active, a Border Force patrol vessel, called in for a layover. Tugs Craigleith and Peterel who were assisting with tanker operations at the Aultbea MOD fuel depot called in for stores and a layover. The Fisheries’ research vessel Scotia called in for a between trips gear change and layover; unfortunately the vessel had mechanical issues and had to return to Aberdeen. Dutch super trawler Afrika called in to collect a new crew member and made an unexpected return 24 hours later to drop off a crewman who had suffered a family bereavement. Scottish pelagic vessel Chris Andra – owned by the Tait family from Fraserburgh – dropped off a crew member. The MCA tug Ievoli Black made her scheduled monthly visit for fuel, stores and a crew change. The Dutch cargo vessel Fluvious Kenn, en route from Esbjerg to Kyle with a cargo of three wind turbine blades, made a short visit to clear customs paperwork (yet another Brexit consequence). Finally the CEG Galaxy arrived from Ireland and discharged her cargo of 1,200 tonnes of road salt for Highland Council – winter must be upon us. 

Shore Street Project Update

There is still very little to report as we await the outcome of the Planning and Marine Licensing applications.