Aberdeen Harbour urges radical
rethink on fishing industry
Quotas and decommissioning mean new approach needed in Aberdeen
Aberdeen Harbour Board are urging all involved in the fishing industry
in Aberdeen to work together to ensure that the sector is
fit-for-purpose in the 21 st century.
Colin Parker, the Board’s Chief Executive, said: “Despite some
optimism over future landings, the rapid decline in recent years as a
result of quotas and vessel decommissioning is a serious concern which
calls for a radical rethink on how the industry operates.”
The tonnage of white fish landed and consigned at Aberdeen dropped 59%
between 2002 and 2006, while the number of processors in the Aberdeen
Harbour area fell from 48 to 26 in the same period.
White fishing landings in the first quarter of this year were 71.7%
less than the corresponding period in 2006.
“There has, however, been no reduction in the number of fish markets
in the North-east of Scotland ,” explained Mr Parker. “In recent
years, Aberdeen Harbour Board have invested almost £5 million in
improvements of the facilities provided for the fishing sector in
order to attract higher landings across the market floor.
“Regrettably, the fish are now mainly being caught in more northerly
waters and, to save on sailing time and fuel costs, skippers are
understandably opting to land away from Aberdeen . The decline in
white fish landings at Aberdeen has also been influenced by the fact
that many fishing vessel crews live closer to the ports of Peterhead
Following an independent review commissioned by the Board into the
fish market operation and the viability of any future development, the
Board have concluded that the market on Palmerston Quay should
continue in its current role, subject to future landings being at a
Due to current poor levels and uncertainty over predicted landings,
the Board also decided not to construct a purpose-built facility at
the quayside for landings, cold storage and transhipment of fish, at
an estimated cost of £3.5 million.
To meet ongoing requirements for open quay space in support of fishing
and other users, the remaining section of the Commercial Quay fish
market is to be removed and the quayside resurfaced.
Following a meeting with industry representatives in Aberdeen today,
Colin Parker said: “The Board remain committed to helping guarantee a
future for the industry in Aberdeen and encourage it to consider
providing a fit-for-purpose refrigerated facility for white fish in
“Large quantities of white fish are currently delivered to the port
via the daily NorthLink ferry from Shetland where Lerwick has seen a
26% increase in the tonnage of fish landed during the first quarter of
2007, and so this supply is likely to continue.
“There is potential benefit in locating such a facility near good road
links to provide the area’s fishing sector with a full range of shared
facilities, meeting the demands of a 21 st century food industry.
“A centralised, modern facility, similar to those established on the
Continent, could include product weighing and grading, an electronic
auction, long and short term temperature controlled storage, adequate
refrigerated trailer parking, and staff welfare and administration,
with all the advantages that combination would bring.”