Busy start to year for port

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PETERHEAD Port Authority has experienced a busy start to 2012 in both commercial and fishing operations.

Authority chief executive, John Wallace, said last week that grain exports at the port would cease in the next couple of weeks and resume again after the summer and good figures had been achieved.

The fishing side of things were holding up well, with April being the highest month for consigned fish and the second highest month for landings and combined totals.

“Whitefish was at its highest of the year with just over £7m, but shellfish was well back,” he said.

“This is mainly due to the fact that prawn boats are staying in port due to the scarcity of the product and are not wasting their available days at sea, but instead saving them for later on.

“We have had a good blue whiting season. Vessels had experienced a severe cut in quota, but that has been restored and last month saw 4,000 tonnes landed at just over £1m in value,” he said.

Total fish landed at the port came to 62,140 tonnes - 7,000 ahead of last year. “The value was slightly down by £2m at £57,740,000, but that’s only the first third of the year,” said Mr Wallace.

With regard to the port’s application for two wind turbines at the harbour, Mr Wallace said he hoped an application would be submitted to Aberdeenshire Council some time next month.

“We are continuing to work on our application, particularly in regard to noise assessment for the council’s environmental health officer and for SNH we are still working on a bird study to incorporate night flights.”

Mr Wallace said the authority was also currently working on the building of a new laundry at the marina which, he said, would be useful for visitors to the port.

“We are also in the process of conduction an external OHSAS 1801 health and safety audit which is a benchmark for best practice and will be a significant criteria to achieve,” he said.

“The fishmarket will also be undergoing a BRC audit and it continues to be operated to meet this standard.”