Scottish harbours set for £1.8m investment as Brexit sees drop in EU vessel landings

Cromarty harbour
(Lachlan1, Shutterstock)

HARBOURS in Scotland that have lost income from landing fees due to disruption caused by Brexit are to receive a share of a new £1.8 million Scottish Government fund.

The funding will provide necessary investment at up to 20 ports and harbours for safety improvements and repair works.

The support includes £180,000 to install shore power for the fishing fleet at Mallaig, £125,000 for resurfacing works and dredging at Eyemouth, £534,979 for repair work at Fraserburgh and £182,000 for new lighting and a fish landing crane at Lerwick Port.

It comes after the Scottish Government said that ‘limited’ and ‘complex’ guidance and the requirement to use multiple systems for catch and export certification and customs controls is leading to a number of EU vessels choosing to land in other countries like Norway, Denmark and Ireland.

The government added that EU flagged vessels accounted for around 7% of all landings by value into Scottish ports in 2019 and were worth £35.5 million. Smaller communities such as Ullapool heavily rely on the vessels, with 13% of landings estimated to be from EU vessels.

Fisheries secretary, Fergus Ewing, said, “Ports and harbours are the lifeblood of many of our coastal communities up and down the country. As a result of the botched Brexit deal and through no fault of their own, many are losing key landing fees from vessels and need this essential investment.

“Previously we committed £1 million but I am pleased to be able to increase this to £1.8 million so we can provide even more funding to approximately 20 ports and harbours and support jobs and livelihoods in our coastal communities. We’ve been working closely with the British Ports Association on this support and the ports and harbours will be able to start essential works immediately.

“While this funding will help our ports and harbours with longer term recovery I am calling on the Scottish Seafood Exports Taskforce to provide urgent short term solutions and produce clear guidance so EU vessels and their agents can understand and have confidence in the requirements, and continue to land in our ports, which rely on them for employment and economic stability.”

The full list of projects set to benefit:

Location Works Planned
Cromarty Surfacing and stone work to harbour pier
Dunbar Safety rails, and bridge works
Sandhaven Repair work to breakwater
North Berwick Repair to harbour walls
Fraserburgh Numerous repairs
Ullapool Improvement to existing fish house to comply with export regulations
Eyemouth Resurfacing works, dredging
Scrabster Fendor works, Quay surface
Tarbert Loch Fyne Upgrade of CCTV, Shoreside power, Install Fish Bait store
Lerwick New lighting, Fish landing crane, Automation of weightbridge
Peterhead Various improvements ranging from collection and disposal of waste from fishing fleet to quay cleaning.
Mallaig Installation of shore power for fishing fleet
Aberdeenshire (Stonehaven, Gourdon, Johnshaven & Macduff) Chart plotter for pilot boat, quayside ladders, davit
Barra, Western Isles Refurbishment of ice machine and external conveyers, Chain replacement