Although once a haven for the Vikings, the steady growth of Mallaig Harbour began with the building of the first pier in 1846. Ever since, Mallaig has been synonymous with fishing, particularly with the west of Scotland herring fishery which made it the largest herring port in Europe during the 60s and 70s.
Today, although the herring fishing is long gone, Mallaig remains a leading port on the West Coast of Scotland for prawn (nephrops) landings.
Over the past 40 odd years the Mallaig Harbour Authority has led a series of initiatives in the port’s development the landmark ones being listed below:
1968 – Mallaig Harbour Authority formed
1972 – Extended concrete fish pier and construction of Fish Sales Hall
1986 – Extension to Steamer Pier
1993 – Ferry Link Span (RO/RO) plus land reclamation/p>
1998 – Outer Breakwater/Oil Storage and delivery
2007 – New Fish Market
2011 – Yachting Development and New Storage Facility
The upgrading of the A830 Mallaig to Fort William Trunk Road will stimulate further benefits for the local economy.
The completion of the Arisaig – Loch nan Uamh section of the A830 (officially opened by the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change, Stewart Stevenson MSP on Wednesday 15th April 2009) has finally elevated the Road To The Isles to two lane status. The perception that Mallaig is remotely situated at the end of 40 miles of bad road has now gone. Excellent road and rail links may just help in the re-introduction of the Mallaig/Outer Isles ferry service.
Two years ago in an attempt to broaden it’s operating base the Harbour Authority in conjunction with Highlands & Islands Enterprise, The Highland Council, Nevis Estates and the Mallaig Boatbuilding & Engineering Co, commissioned and financed a Yachting Study with a view to the creation of a 50 plus yacht berthing facility at the port.
In 2011 with the financial assistance of SailWest (EU’s INTERREG IVA Programme); Highlands & Islands Enterprise; and The Highland Council this aim was acheived with the £900,000 project being completed and operational in September 2011.
In 2011 the Authority constructed a new 1,200 tonne storage facility at the port.
The cost of this project was close on £500,000 and the Authority is indebted to both the Highlands & Islands Enterprise Co and the Scottish Government via the European Fisheries Fund for their major financial assistance towards the financing of this project.
The main purpose and use for this new building will be for the storage of fish feed with fish feed manufacturer EWOS intending to tranship 30,000 tonnes of feed through the port this year (2012).