Record-breaking year at port

Peterhead Port Authority chief executive Ian Laidlaw with Scottish Fisheries Minister Fergus Ewing during a visit to Peterhead recently.
Peterhead Port Authority chief executive Ian Laidlaw with Scottish Fisheries Minister Fergus Ewing during a visit to Peterhead recently.

Peterhead Port Authority and its fisherman have had a sensational year after breaking two different landing records twice in the same year.

Weekly and daily records of boxes landed at Peterhead port have eclipsed all other years since records began as £180 million of whitefish came through the harbour.

The weekly total for fish landed in the harbour on the week of November 21 was a record-breaking 35,200 - this broke the previous record of 31,720 which itself was only set in October of this year.

The record for a single market day was broken this month as 8,065 boxes were landed breaking the previous record, also from this month, of 7,600.

That record had stood for at least 15 years since records of the current market began.

Ian Laidlaw, Chief Executive of Peterhead Port Authority, said: “It’s just absolutely fantastic at the moment.

“I think we have reached a critical mass where the buyers have the confidence that they can come here and get top value fish and that their quantity demands will be met.”

He added: “This it turn attracts the fishermen who know that buyers are there - it’s like a chicken and an egg situation.”

It’s not just whitefish landings that are up throughout the port with pelagic fish also seeing a rise.

Mackerel is up over 10,000 tonnes per year while herring is up over 7,000.

Mr Laidlaw said: “There are boats that are coming in here for the first time in years and that must be because we have good healthy markets and good demand from buyers.”

He added: “Pelagic fish were up on last year so it’s not just a whitefish bonanza we’ve got at the moment.”

The news of record breaking landings is good news for the port as it begins it£50 million redevelopment of the harbour.

This will include the extension and upgrading of the current Greenhill fish market so it may hold a larger capacity of boxes.

Mr Laidlaw said: “Construction is currently on schedule and the fish market project is due to start in March next year and both will complete in march 2018.”

The last market of 2016 will be held on December 21 and the first market of the new year will take place on January 4.

Mr Laidlaw said: “It will provide a well earned rest for the fishermen, the market staff , transporters and processors.”