Cullivoe can take large hauls again Published: 23 August, 2007
BRITAIN’S most northerly fishing port has finally been granted permission to land large quantities of white fish after a long campaign by local fishermen.
Rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead yesterday awarded designated status to Cullivoe harbour, on the isle of Yell.
The move means boats can land more than two tonnes of cod and hake for the first time since restrictions were brought in during 1999, though landings can only be made on weekdays between 9am and 5pm.
Local councillor Robert Henderson welcomed the news, saying it would be a huge benefit to fishermen who had sometimes been forced to set sail in dangerous seas because of the landing restriction at Cullivoe.
“The basic problem was with the cod because a lot of boats were getting more than two tonnes of cod, which is only 40 boxes, in a single tow,” Mr Henderson said.
“One night, two winters ago there was a south east gale and something like four boats wanted to land at Cullivoe, but they were not allowed to because they had more than the legal amount of cod. They had to steam all the way to Lerwick and put men’s lives in jeopardy.”
He said while fishermen would be the main beneficiaries of yesterday’s
decision, it would also be a bonus to the local community which had
invested heavily into facilities providing ice, fuel and supplies for
visiting fishing boats. Shetland Islands Council has pumped more than £5 million into the pier and breakwater in the last 20 years.
Speaking on his first visit to Shetland as fishing minister, Mr Lochhead said the designation was “tangible evidence” of the SNP administration’s commitment to helping fishing communities in Scotland.
Mr Lochhead said: “It is a new era for Cullivoe, which will bring wider benefits both to local and visiting fishing fleets, as well as the local community providing essential services.”
Welcoming the move, Shetland Fishermen’s Association chief executive Hansen Black said he was delighted the executive had agreed to the SFA’s request for designation.
“Being close to the fishing grounds, boats will save both time and fuel landing in Cullivoe and more importantly in terms of safety it will remove the necessity to steam to either Lerwick or Scalloway in times of poor weather.
“Secondly, it demonstrates that the executive has confidence in the
integrity of the local fleet and the robustness of enforcement measures currently in place.”
Local MSP Tavish Scott also welcomed the outcome. “This development should help the whitefish fleet, which is already showing signs of increased confidence, with better returns for the boats and new boats on order,” he said.
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